Wiggins Announces the First Zero-Emissions Large-Capacity Forklift: the eBull.

Wiggins Announces the First Zero-Emissions Large-Capacity Forklift: the eBull.

Wiggins Announces the First Zero-Emissions Large-Capacity Forklift: the eBull.

Oxnard, CA – Wiggins Lift Co. is excited to unveil the first commercially available zero emission large capacity forklift. With capacities ranging from 30,000 to 70,000 lbs, the Wiggins Yard eBull is fully electric and wholly manufactured in the United States. Wiggins Lift is a family-owned forklift manufacturer that has been operating in Southern California since the 1950s. The world leader in marina forklifts, Wiggins will display its first zero-emission industrial unit at the Breakbulk Americas Show in Houston on October 2-4.

Wiggins has partnered with battery supplier Thor Trucks, a fellow Southern California company, recently chosen by UPS to provide electric delivery trucks for field tests by the logistics giant. Thor provides batteries and electrification system integration, enabling Wiggins to reduce R&D effort and development time. “We’ve been innovators in the material handling field for over 50 years, so producing the first commercially available large capacity zero emission forklift in the industry was a logical next step for us,” says Micah McDowell, Wiggins’ Director of Sales.

McDowell points to the company’s previous projects, including the continued evolution of the industry-leading Marina Bull LoPRO, the crab-steering Marina FLX, the Nuclear Waste Handler, and Operating in Heavy Seas: the Wiggins LCS Forklift as evidence for Wiggins’ ability to innovate and build new vehicles from the ground up.

Wiggins is using high voltage lithium-ion batteries, which are more resilient and longer lasting than the lead-acid batteries typically used on smaller warehouse forklifts.

With an estimated 6-month lead time, Wiggins will begin taking orders at the Breakbulk Show. Due to the higher costs associated with battery electric power, Wiggins has been working with state authorities on available grants designed to ease the financial burden of customers who purchase the electric forklifts. Many states have put such programs in place to incentivize operators to adopt zero emission material handling solutions. Many predict that advances in battery technology will significantly reduce costs of batteries within the next few years. Wiggins is also working on designs for a forklift that runs on hydrogen fuel cells, the technology, and infrastructure for which it estimates will be available in the next few years. Wiggins will build all of its battery-electric Yard eBulls with the capability the convert to hydrogen power in the field when that technology is available. For now, Wiggins will offer its entire product catalog in electric, including marina and industrial forklifts, tire handlers for mining, and other all-purpose and agricultural equipment.

Wiggins Lift invites you to see this technology for yourself at the Breakbulk Americas Show in Houston on October 2-4 at Booth 1349. With the first Wiggins Yard eBull on display, Wiggins will show you the advantages of zero-emission material handling and answer any questions you may have. Wiggins looks forward to seeing you there!

CEO Michele McDowell in American Journal of Transportation

CEO Michele McDowell in American Journal of Transportation

Wiggins Lift and CEO Michele McDowell in the American Journal of Transportation

Wiggins Lift Co., Inc. and Michele Wiggins-McDowell was recently featured in an article in the American Journal of Transportation. The article highlights Wiggins’ use of the latest technology for safety, durability, efficiently, environment-friendliness, and strength. Noting that Michele may be the first female CEO of a forklift design and manufacturing company, the article continues:


As the third-generation Wiggins to become the chief executive officer of the leading manufacturer of marina forklifts in the world, Michele will tell you that her blood lines may have provided the connection, but her qualifications for the job are a result of learning the forklift business from the bottom up.  She began working at the Wiggins factory in Oxnard, California at age fourteen.

Michele is the daughter of second generation Wiggins CEO Mike Wiggins, and granddaughter of company’s founder Mel Wiggins. She began her career running parts, working as head janitor, office assistant and lead go-for. After a four-year separation to attend college at Abilene Christian University, Michele returned to the factory as director of purchasing and then chief financial officer before taking the helm after father Mike Wiggins stepped down. Mike still works and has assumed the title of president of the company.

Wiggins is the world’s leading manufacturer of marina forklifts, shipping product throughout the globe. They have designed the world’s largest marina trucks, used to lift yachts from the water, transport them back to boat storage facilities and insert them into their multi-level slots. Wiggins has also produced forklifts for the agricultural fields of California, for the U.S. military, for nuclear power plants and specialty lift trucks for the marine terminal industry…

To read the full article, visit AJOT.

HAVE IT YOUR WAY: Wiggins Marina Bull for options AND support.

HAVE IT YOUR WAY: Wiggins Marina Bull for options AND support.

Before 1974, fast food restaurants were food assembly lines: you got what was on the menu and didn’t ask for options because they weren’t available.

Then Burger King released a campaign saying that at their place, you could “have it your way.” The jingle became famous:

“Hold the pickles,

hold the lettuce,

special orders don’t upset us,

all we ask is that you let us serve it your way.”

It was a customer-oriented: offer a standard menu of options that satisfied most people, but allow a customer to make special requests. Today, most fast-food places allow options on their standard items.

That’s not true in the marine forklift industry. Most lifts are assembly-line products. You buy only what they offer, with relatively few options. If you have an unusual request, forget it.

But Wiggins is customer-oriented and always has been. Our mottos are “Built for the owner, designed for the operator” and “Tell us what you want; we’ll build it.”

For a marina lift, “one size” does not “fit all.” Every marina is different. Different building constraints, a different collection of boats, and different needs.

All Wiggins Marina Bulls come with standard components, of course, such as a Kessler drive axle, a Cummins engine, and a Dana transmission. These standard components are durable and high-quality, just like the Marina Bulls we put them in.

Engines and Transmissions

  • Cummins 110HP, 121HP, 154HP, 160HP, 190HP, 220HP, 250HP
  • Cummins 121HP, 173HP, 220HP Tier 4
  • Ford V10 LPG
  • Volvo 140Hp, 174HP, 215HP D5, 215HP D8 Tier 4
  • Dana Clark 20000, 32000 transmission
  • Funk DF250 transmission

So many options—with security for parts and service.

But if your marina has a different preference, we’ll customize it. No matter how unique the request—as long as it’s safe and effective, we’ll make it your way. That’s why we are the leader in the marine forklift industry, with more satisfied customers than any other manufacturer. We put our customers’ needs first.

We can customize nearly every aspect of our Marina Bull to fit your marina’s wants and needs. That includes what you would expect, such as height, engine, and tires, but also things like hydraulic control configuration or even step design.

Concerned about getting parts and service for customizations? No problem. We have been servicing and supporting our custom machines for almost 70 years. Before we allow any part to be put on a Marina Bull, we make sure it meets our rigorous performance and safety standards, and that we can support that part in an exceptional manner. If a component fails either of those tests, we’ll work with you to find a suitable option, because we don’t put substandard parts on Wiggins lifts. In additions, we have parts and service centers all over the USA, including support through Taylor SSI.

Do you want an AxleTech or a John Deere axle? A Ford LPG or Volvo Penta Tier 4 engine? Something else? We’ll do it, as long as it meets the high level of performance the Marina Bull is famous for.

Don’t settle for a one-size-fits-all, assembly-line approach. With Wiggins, you’ll not only get a high-performance, durable, and custom machine—you’ll receive the highest quality service and parts support, too. No other manufacturer offers customization, quality components, and support like Wiggins.

Drive Axles

  • Kessler D81
  • John Deere 1200, 1400, 1600
  • AxleTech PRC1756, PRC1794, PRC3806, and PRC 7534.

Tell us what you want, we’ll build it.


  • Pneumatic
  • Black solid
  • Non-mark solid
  • Lug or smooth

Have it your way—with confidence.

World Cargo News: Wiggins Chooses Volvo Penta

World Cargo News: Wiggins Chooses Volvo Penta

As we announced on our blog last year, we have adopted the Volvo Penta for Tier 4 Final-compliant machines. Our first unit was a Yard Bull for the Port Hueneme, California docks; the second was a Marina Bull at Bolton Landing marina in the Finger Lakes in New York state. Many more have followed since.

World Cargo News published an article on the adoption, with detailed background on the Penta engines, as well as some further information on Wiggins Lift’s success last year in the marina market and our ground-breaking Marina FLX.

Wiggins Yard Bull—High capacity with strength and confidence

Wiggins Yard Bull—High capacity with strength and confidence

Wiggins Yard Trucks—High capacity with strength and confidence

Wiggins has been engineering and manufacturing yard trucks for almost fifty years. We know a thing or two. And because we work with each customer to manufacture the machinethey need, our lifts outperform the competition in performance, durability, and safety.

Lifting capacity and stability are two of the most important characteristics of a yard truck. Wiggins specializes in high capacity forklifts, and our units can safely and reliably lift more than any competitor’s lift when compared model to model. For example, to match the lift capacity of our Yard Bull 550 model at a 48″ load center, you would have to buy a 600 or 620 model from one of our competitors. Our customers save money on maintenance and repairs by buying the right model for the right job. You don’t need to overbuy with a Wiggins Yard Bull.

Our Yard Truck LoPRO has the lowest center of gravity and the heaviest counterweights in the industry, ensuring that you can lift the heaviest loads with confidence, typically lifting the full rated load to the top.

Wiggins Yard Bull means capacity, strength, safety, and durability.

How to Think About Lift Capacities, Load Centers, and More

How to Think About Lift Capacities, Load Centers, and More

Sometimes the image of a teeter-totter (see-saw) is used to explain how forklifts work. This analogy is okay as a beginning point about the physics of counterweight. Yet it hardly begins to address what is needed for lifting a boat.

The Teeter-totter Analogy

Imagine a teeter-totter that is 20 feet long. We want to place a 35-pound child on one side, 5 feet from the end. If want the see-saw to remain balanced, you would place a 35 lb weight on the other end, 5 feet from the end. It “counters” the child’s weight and placement perfectly. Simple, right? This is the concept of “counterweights,” just as on a forklift.

If you moved the child a foot farther out (four feet from the end), his leverage makes the see-saw unstable, and the child hits the ground, crying, because you are not an engineer. The same would happen if you placed a 45-pound child 5 feet from the right end.) Moving the counterweight back a foot, or adding the properly-calculated weight to it, would achieve balance. This is similar to how forklifts work.

The problem with this analogy is that a teeter-totter does not move, turn, brake, or go downhill like forklifts do.

Moreover, the shape and weights of children on a see-saw are usually not like loads lifted by forklifts—and this is especially true of boats.

Delving into Load Capacity and Load Centers

A better explanation uses the image of a forklift itself. After all, few adults would not be generally aware of what a forklift looks like. So, imagine a forklift.

Suppose that the load we wish to lift (and move!) is a large obelisk—a huge, rectangular weight. This obelisk is 40 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 1 foot thick. (If you have seen Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey film, you have the idea.) Our obelisk weighs 5,000 pounds.

Manufacturers let you know the capacity of a lift by telling you what weight (“load”) can be lifted at a certain distance out on the forks (“load center”). Let’s say this forklift has been designed to lift this obelisk, as it sits vertically on the forks, 2 feet out from the carriage:

The manufacturer tells you that this lift can hoist “5,000 pounds at 24-inch load center.” If you put the centerline of the obelisk 2 feet out on the forks, standing vertically, it will lift it. (At the moment, we’ll ignore how high it could lift it—that depends on counterweight, too, because of gravity and other forces). However, if you moved the obelisk one foot farther out on the forks, the lift would become unstable and fall forward.

Forklifts Move (Teeter-totters Do Not)

But there is more to consider. If the lift was designed to lift exactly 5,000 pounds at a 24” load center, and you braked too suddenly while moving it, the lift would also become unstable. Just like when you apply your brakes in your car, the stopping motion produces energy that transfers weight forward, and front of the becomes momentarily "heavier" than the back before it returns to normal. The load did not move forward, but the overall weight distribution did. (This is really an issue of mass, momentum, and the earth's gravity which creates imbalance.) The same would happen if you drove downhill—the vehicle becomes "heavier" in the front.

What we are talking about here is really the “center of gravity.” This is the point or division along a mass ("load") where there is the same weight behind it as in front it. That point is called the center of gravity, and it changed not only from shape to shape, but by increasing or decreasing speed, braking, and traveling up or down slopes.

Therefore, to ensure that our 5,000 pound obelisk can be transported safely while driving, turning, braking, and driving on slopes, it has to be capable of lifting _more_ than 5,000 pounds at 24” inch load center. A salesman might tell you, “Oh, you don’t want to buy that more expensive 5,000-pound @24” lift, when ours will lift 5,000 lbs at 24-inch load center for less money!” It might, but how quickly can you brake in an emergency without creating imbalance? How much of a slope can you traverse without losing the load? Most likely, the cheaper lift has less counterweight and strength in its structure.
If you only plan on lifting a single kind of weight, and never wish to transport it anywhere, then the cheaper lift will probably work fine for you. Otherwise, you may be well on your way to accidents.

Forks, Carriages, and Masts Matter Too!

Furthermore, lift capacity and movement are not the only considerations. A lift might be fully capable of hoisting a load at the capacity you need to the height you want. It might be capable of handling turns, slopes, and braking. But what if the steel of the forks, carriage, or mast is not high grade? What if the axles are at the minimum to handle the stresses put upon it?

The Bottom Line

Wiggins lifts are engineered with these issues in mind, and manufactured using high-quality steel and other components. Some have said that Wiggins forklifts are “overbuilt”—we say they are designed to be tough, dependable, and to get the job done safely. Other manufacturers often scrimp in order to undercut pricing. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” Wiggins lifts are the standard by which all others can be judged.

Lifting boats raises a whole host of other physics and engineering issues—which Wiggins has been addressing for decades. We’ll look at the unique issues of marina lifts in a future post, and discuss how Wiggins solves those engineering challenges, too.

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