Evidence of automotive technology being used beyond the highway comes from Toyota. Using Hybrid Synergy Drive technology, subsidiary Toyota Industries Corp. (TICO) launched the world’s first internal-combustion hybrid lift truck late last year in Japan.
The GENEO-HYBRID 3.5-t (3.9-ton) counterbalance forklift combines a 2.5-L diesel engine, electric motor, and nickel-hydride battery to cut fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in half. TICO claims that while these savings are made, the operational performance delivered is still “excellent.”
“The Toyota Group has established itself as both the pioneer and leader in hybrid technology,” said Mike Mathias, Managing Director of Toyota Material Handling U.K. “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.”
Powered by highly efficient Toyota hybrid technology, the GENEO-HYBRID combines a series hybrid system (SHS) for driving and a parallel hybrid system for load handling. With the SHS, the forklift truck’s drive motor runs on electric energy from the engine-powered generator and battery. Load handling functions are powered by a PHS 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, making it suitable for multishift operations. 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.