SPACE MIRACLE WITH ENDURANCE
With the four-wheel electric truck series, EP Equipment brings a remarkable range of forklift trucks onto the market. Thanks to the integrated lithium battery, the trucks offer more space than others and can easily be used for long periods of time by opportunity charging. We tested the 3 tonne truck and found it to be a powerful and easy to operate truck with some strong advantages.
It is green, tough and powerful, so the name ‘The Hulk’ is obvious. Maybe nice for our test truck the EP CPD30L1-S, but not generally applicable to the entire truck series that EP brings on the European market. The trucks with models from 1.5 to 3.5 tonnes of load capacity will be wearing the EP red paint, so EP Europe says. According to EP, the test truck’s different colour scheme is temporary and purely intended to draw extra attention to its green image: no emissions on site, easy to recharge in the meantime and maintenance-free battery technology that can take a hit.
BATTERY TECHNOLOGY PROVIDES ADDITIONAL WORKSPACE
As with other lithium-ion trucks, the great strength of this battery technology lies, among other things, in the favourable size of the battery. The advantage of this is immediately visible when you see the truck.
The EP CPD30 is the first counter balanced fork lift truck on the market that is designed around the lithium ion battery. The truck is not limited by the dominant square battery form of conventional lead-acid batteries, and therefore offers much more space for the driver. Getting on and off is a party at the EP. The truck has a large and deep step so you can safely step on the huge footplate, which is one of the biggest footplates that you can imagine at a fork lift truck. The plate is free of obstacles and the lower legs do not touch the battery cover for higher comfort.
The seating position and quality on the seat (not branded) is pleasant because of the good cushioning and lateral support. We do miss an armrest on the right side.
The conventional mechanical levers are easily accessible and logical to operate. Because of their length, the stroke is quite long, while the effective working area is not that large. A shorter stroke improves operating comfort and predictability. The three-section 4,900 mm mast with free lift and side shift provides enough visibility for this type of mast. The chains and hoses are neatly placed behind the profiles. The mast transitions are damped but have no damping at ground and maximum level.
DRIVING AND WORKING
Driving the EP CPD30L1-S is fun and the way you expect it to be. The L1 is not afraid of a rain shower (IP54 protected), the stability is fine and the track accuracy is good. Thanks to the grip with horn on the roof post, you can also ride backwards safely and in a controlled way. In consultation with the technical department, we change the settings of the curve control, because it is adjusted in a way that is far too controlled, so that every right-angled turn takes an unnecessarily long time. There are relatively few storage options in the cabin, given the size of the workplace. There is an A4 paper compartment, a cup holder and a pen/smartphone compartment. There is a USB port, but it is on the side next to the right foot. Not a logical place for a winding charging cable.
In the front right-hand corner of the cab we find the display on which the operating information of the truck can be read. With the buttons we can select 4 driving modes. We consider modes 3 and 4 (the most powerful) to be useful, 1 and 2 are far too slow, although of course everything can be adjusted as desired by the service technician. By the way: the truck is not afraid of a rain shower, because everything is IP54 protected. The same goes for the striking LFP lithium-ion battery with built-in indicator for all battery functions.
EP’s LFP batteries consist of stacks of flexible ‘bags’ (pouches). The risk of fire in the event of damage is virtually excluded and even when pierced, they do not cause any risks or collateral problems. According to EP, the risk of malfunctions is also much lower compared to batteries that consist of ‘hard’ cells soldered together.
ENERGY AND PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT
The performance measurements show that the EP accelerates powerfully enough for a smooth working style. The driving speeds are slightly lower than those of the factory specification and from this we can conclude that the settings are not fully exploited. The approximately 13 km/hr with 2 tons on the fork we still experience as smooth enough. The lifting speed is not linked to the presets and is the same for each selected mode.
The energy measurement shows a higher level than average consumption, although we do not expect any problems during the daily operation. With the 540Ah battery we get a practical running time of 6:45 hours on mode 4 and 7:45 hours on mode 3. Thanks to the lithium ion technology and fast chargers, the truck can even be used around the clock. If you want to drive longer, you can opportunity charge the lithium-ion battery during breaktimes. A coffee break of 10 minutes already provides 7% extra battery power. A complete charge of the 540 Ah/80V battery takes 2.5 hours. Connecting the charging plug is easy via the cover on the side of the truck.
In summary, with the L1, EP brings a remarkably spacious and easy-to-use straightforward forklift series to the market. The trucks have conventional control of the mast functions where there is still some room for optimisation, for example by limiting the stroke of the levers. The seating position is fine and the foot and working space in the cab is unprecedentedly large for an electric forklift truck.
The great strength of EP also lies in the low-maintenance nature of the battery and the possibility of opportunity charging. This means that the uptime is also sufficient for intensive working days. The long-term performance of the trucks is not yet known. Here and there we hear a crackling noise in the chassis or protective roof during the test, but we also come across these noises in other brands with a longer history. All in all: with the battery technology, the open and predictable character of the trucks, the unique design with generous working space and a very favourable pricing, EP certainly has a number of strong points in its hands.
The tested CPD30L1 with 3000kg capacity, 80Volts /540Ah battery & charger, 3 stage mast, side shift, solid tires and lighting is available for under 30.000 Euros.
- Spacious workspace including getting on and off
- Maintenance-free battery technology with opportunity charging
- Stroke of the hydraulic levers
- Parking brake capacity (drum brakes)
- Storage options