“Are you about to make a new purchase or do you want to replace old equipment from your forklift fleet with new, energy-efficient electric or hydrogen forklifts? If so, we recommend you check out the various federal grant programs in advance.”

Kai Hesse, CIN Spokesman, Head of Product Management, Toyota Material Handling Deutschland GmbH

Funding opportunities for forklifts – taking advantage of government subsidies for electric drives and CO2 savings

With the climate protection program and the new climate protection law, the EU aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a binding 55 percent by 2030. Among other things, the CO2 tax on fossil fuels, the promotion of energy-efficient technologies and renewable energies, and the hydrogen strategy are intended to achieve this. Electric forklifts and fuel cell forklifts contribute to CO2 savings and thus to the long-term decarbonization of the transport and logistics sector. For this reason, the federal government provides direct subsidies for the purchase of new industrial trucks as well as investments to replace old equipment. But which funding programs are available, what needs to be considered when applying for funding, and what funding rates can companies expect?

Support for investments to save CO2

The German Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) is currently offering a funding program in the field of energy efficiency called “Module 4: Energy-related optimization of plants and processes”. Within this framework, measures to increase energy efficiency are promoted. The program is open to all technologies and can also be used for the purchase of new industrial trucks. This is possible, for example, if you want to convert your gas or diesel truck to alternative drives such as Li-ion technology or hydrogen, or to switch from proven lead-acid technology to Li-ion cells.

The subsidy amount depends on the amount of CO2 savings on the one hand and on the size of the company on the other. The funding body distinguishes between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (fewer than 250 employees, annual sales of no more than EUR 50 million or annual balance sheet total of no more than EUR 43 million) and non-SMEs. The maximum subsidy is limited to an amount of 700 euros for SMEs and 500 euros for non-SMEs per ton of CO2 saved per year. Overall, the funding rate is up to 40 percent (SMEs) or 30 percent (non-SMEs) of eligible investment costs.

Requirements for promotion

  • Replacement investments (“old against new”) and new investments
  • Purchase and hire-purchase or leasing (limited to 24 months) eligible for subsidies
  • Stacker in operation exclusively at the company location of the subsidy recipient
  • Eligible to apply are private and municipal commercial enterprises

Required information for the preliminary check of the funding amount

Replacement (old against new)

  • Offer new investment e-stacker
  • Technical data + consumption values E-Stacker
  • Technical data + consumption values “old unit
  • Planned operating hours
  • Data of the applicant company (employees, annual turnover/annual balance sheet total)

New investment

  • Offer new investment e-stacker
  • Consumption values E-Stacker (according to data sheet)
  • Offer comparative forklift (diesel or LPG)
  • Consumption values of comparative forklifts (according to data sheet)
  • Planned operating hours
  • Data of the applicant company (employees, annual turnover/annual balance sheet total)

Good to know

  • A detailed energy savings concept must be prepared by a BAFA-certified energy consultant, or the applying company must have a certified energy or environmental management system in accordance with DIN ISO 50001/EMAS for the specified location.
  • Order/purchase of the new device only after BAFA has issued a positive decision on the grant.
  • If renewable energy, for example from solar systems, is to be used to charge the battery, a higher subsidy amount can be applied for

In general, BAFA strives to process all applications quickly. Currently, a processing time of approximately 4 to 5 weeks is to be expected. Supplementary applications are usually approved within 2 to 3 weeks, without a full decision having already been made on the main application.

Overall, investments in electric drives not only save energy costs and CO2, but are also subsidized by federal funding programs. The higher the predicted CO2 savings per year, the higher the subsidy amount. The bureaucratic effort for concept development, application and processing with BAFA is reduced to a minimum for the customer through cooperation with Toyota and an experienced service provider.

Funding opportunities for hydrogen forklifts

The promotion of alternative drives in intralogistics, from forklifts to baggage tugs at airports, is highlighted in the “Logistics Innovation Program 2030” of the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI, now BMDV) as a good way to reduce energy consumption, emissions of pollutants and CO2 emissions. This is an important cornerstone for the provision of national funding for fuel cell-powered industrial trucks, which will help the technology achieve a further breakthrough on the market and support the climate targets that have been set.

Kai Hesse, CIN Spokesman, Head of Product Management, Toyota Material Handling Deutschland GmbH


Tobias König, NOW GmbH

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