Toyota has long been at the forefront of developing new technologies designed to rely less upon fossil fuels. From Toyota forklifts to other types of construction equipment and automobiles, Toyota has been developing new batteries, fuel cells, and energy solutions as part of a joint corporate effort to constantly reduce carbon emissions and as part of the company’s long-term goals of being able to build products that operate off of 100% renewable energy sources.
In fact, many of the developing technologies that Toyota has already incorporated or is testing in their automobiles are being adapted for the industrial and construction equipment industries, including forklift trucks. Back in 2009, Toyota was the first company to adapt hybrid technologies to their forklifts with the release of the Geneo Hybrid.
Hybrid forklifts use a combination of electrical and combustion power to operate the lift truck. Hybrids switch between electrical power and the combustion engine to deliver efficient performance while reducing fuel emissions. The batteries that provide the electrical power are automatically recharged from the combustion engine whenever the lift is operating.
Hybrid forklifts from Toyota have double the fuel efficiency of straight battery operated or straight combustion lifts. In addition, they emit about half the level of emissions compared to a combustion lift truck. Furthermore, they provide the same power and lifting capabilities found in combustion models, so they work well in environments that have a wide range of weights for lifting.
Another type of forklift currently being developed by Toyota is one that operates with hydrogen fuel cells. This type of technology puts out no carbon emissions whatsoever. Toyota is the first company to develop a prototype fuel cell lift. Toyota is currently calling their prototype FCHV-F. The lift was designed as a joint effort between Toyota Industries Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation.
The FCHV-F operates off a totally combustion-free engine powered by the fuel cells and electricity. Since the model is still in the development and testing phase, it is not yet entirely clear whether the hydrogen power will also fully recharge the fuel cells. However, Toyota does plan to bring the new fuel cell lifts to market in the near future—quite possibly within the next few years.
Aside from the electrical advances being made in powering lift trucks, other technologies being adapted for future designs include:
Blind Spot Detection – This technology can be used to alert lift truck operators to people or objects that enter the lift’s field of operation.
Emergency Braking/Collision Warning – These two technologies can be used to stop the lift automatically if a person or object gets too close to the lift.
Backup Cameras – Camera technologies can be used to help the lift operator see what is behind them.
Toyota’s forklifts of the future are sure to be impressive as they continue to lead the way in developing and advancing electronic powered lift trucks. To check out the latest models or get help finding the best lift truck for your needs, please feel free to contact Atlas Toyota Material Handling at 877-438-2719 today!