Toyota develops hybrid forklift

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Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO) is set to launch what it says is the world’s first internal combustion hybrid lift truck to the Japanese market in December 2009.

The Geneo-Hybrid 3.5 tonne counterbalanced forklift combines a 2.5-litre diesel engine, electric motor and nickel-hydride battery to cut fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions in half while delivering the operational performance of an equivalent conventional diesel-powered forklift.

Toyota is exploring a range of technologies using existing fuels as well as alternative energy sources to meet evolving industry needs over the short, medium and long term.

The Geneo-Hybrid combines a Series Hybrid System for driving and a Parallel Hybrid System for load handling. With the Series Hybrid System, the forklift truck’s drive motor runs on electric energy from the engine-powered generator and battery.

Load handling functions are powered by a Parallel Hybrid System with a hydraulic pump that receives mechanical energy from the diesel engine and generator, and electric energy from the battery.

The nickel hydride battery is recharged by the engine’s operation and does not require plug-in recharging. The truck’s power efficiency is further boosted by the integrated use of regenerated energy recovered when the accelerator is released and when changing the direction of travel.

Mike Mathias, managing director of Toyota Material Handling UK, said: “We see the new Toyota hybrid forklifts as an exciting step for our industry and further proof of Toyota’s commitment to offering our customers leading-edge products, services and solutions, supported by the latest technological innovations.”

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