What Is an Electric Truck?

Lori Kilchermann

An electric truck is a small, battery-powered vehicle used primarily for the transportation of stock and personnel inside of large factories and manufacturing plants. Slightly larger than a typical golf cart and equipped with a pick-up style box or a flat bed on the rear, the electric truck is well-suited to tedious jobs within a plant. These could include running parts between different areas of the plant without making disruptive noise or generating noxious fumes. Extended versions of the electric truck can be equipped with several rows of seats and are commonly used to give plant tours to guests, operations officers and inspectors.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Due in part to the large scale of some factories, workers must use an electric truck to get from one side of the plant to the other in a reasonable time period. The small, battery-powered vehicle is designed to be narrow enough to drive between assembly lines and through doorways designed for forklift trucks. Commonly used by plant maintenance crews, the electric truck is able to carry the workers, their tools and most spare parts needed to complete a repair. Assorted safety equipment typically adorns the little trucks, such as lights, reverse beepers and flashing hazard lights. Some trucks are also equipped with two-way radios that enable contact with all areas of the facility.

The electric motors that power the small vehicles provide enough torque to haul very heavy loads with ease. Unlike liquid propane (LP) or gas-powered vehicles, there is virtually no noise from the electric truck. This is less of a distraction for employees in quiet working areas. There is also no need for a cooling fan on the electric truck, which prevents dust from being disturbed by the cooling fan and potentially contaminating working areas when the trucks are used in sensitive areas of electronics and medical supply plants.

While the trucks can be operated outdoors, the dangers of being caught in a rain storm and causing damage to the electronics of the vehicle usually keep it indoors during threats of poor weather. The trucks are used outside in some instances, when weather permits, to perform plant maintenance as well as security purposes and patrols. In order to maintain a proper level of readiness at all times, the electric truck is commonly attached to a trickle-type battery charging station at all times when it is not in use. The lack of pollutants and emissions from the electric truck makes it a vehicle able to operate indoors.

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