AUG 31, 2022

Electric forklift forks over savings!

When their old propane-powered forklift, built in 1988, needed to be replaced in the Prince George Mechanical Car Shop last year, Senior Manager and EcoChampion Michael Provencal decided to go electric. “It was the way to go to support CN’s sustainability efforts and contribute to the Company’s goal of reducing carbon emissions,” says Michael, who applied to the EcoFund to recoup the cost of the $80,000 BYD (Build Your Dream) machine.

“The old forklift was always breaking down and using about 288 bottles of propane a year at about $35 each bottle, and about 24 litres per year of traditional motor oil to maintain its engine. The new forklift is just as powerful as the one it replaced but better for the environment.”

EcoChampions - Michael Provencal

Going electric has reduced 7.6 tonnes of CO2 a year from the environment and is projected to save the shop $12,200 a year in fuel and maintenance costs. The purchase has also increased operator safety by eliminating fluid spills and pinch points from open hoods and various fan and alternator belts in the machine that occur during the maintenance of the unit.

“It’s a great machine that’s super quiet and efficient,” says Danny Doan, Inventory Maintainer, who is the chief operator of the forklift. “We can operate it for about 6 hours straight before it needs charging, which takes under an hour to do and doesn’t have to be hardwired into the warehouse power supply.” For added safety, to compensate for the machine’s quiet sound, a blue light in the front and back of the machine and orange blinking strobe light warns people when the machine is moving. In addition, a scale mounted onto the windshield and body of the forklift indicates the weight of each load.

CN’s EcoConnexions Employee Engagement program – a partnership with Earth Rangers – drives sustainability across CN's network by empowering employees and their families to conserve energy, reduce waste, and improve housekeeping.

Visit our Delivering Responsibly section to learn more about sustainability at CN.