Many of the biggest names in electric and hybrid vehicles are investing heavily in electric forklifts. Although electric and hybrid cars are stealing headlines, other types of electric vehicles are increasingly in demand.
Toyota is the world leader in hybrid cars but it is also a global leader in forklifts. Nissan has been building electric forklifts since 2008 and Hyundai has a large hybrid outdoor forklift.
Jungheinrich field tested an innovative electric counterbalanced forklift in 2010 which was scheduled to launch in 2011. “The use of lithium-ion batteries will lead to the use of considerably less energy in future — from the mains socket to the motor,” comments Peter Dibbern, Head of Basic Development at Jungheinrich. Should the technology go into series production, this would represent a major contribution to climate protection, he adds. The lithium-ion batteries exhibit a substantial increase in charging and discharging efficiency compared with conventional lead batteries.
The investments of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd give some sense of the scale of the demand for electric forklifts. Mitsubishi completed construction of a battery plant in November 2010. This plant is capable of producing 400,000 lithium-ion batteries for forklifts per year.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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