Visitors to CeMAT 2008 witnessed the European premiere of the Toyota Hybrid Concept Forklift – a concept truck using technology inspired by the Toyota Prius.
With the theme 'Innovation is our nature,' Toyota Material Handling Europe (TMHE) exhibited the concept forklift as one way the world leader in materials handling contributes to society through manufacturing. As businesses look to reduce fuel costs and decrease CO2 emissions, Toyota Hybrid technology offers a practical, proven solution by capitalising on the advantages of existing fuel sources and infrastructure. The Toyota Hybrid Concept Forklift is designed to cut CO2 emissions and fuel consumption significantly while delivering the same overall performance as internal combustion (IC) models.
Developed in Japan by TMHE's parent company, Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO), the Toyota Hybrid Concept Forklift draws on the pioneering Toyota Hybrid technology used in the best-selling Toyota Prius. Launched in 1997 and winner of the prestigious European Car of the Year award in 2005, the Prius is the most successful hybrid vehicle ever developed.
As part of the Toyota Group, TICO works closely with Toyota Motor Corporation in the development of new technologies. The world leader in materials handling since 2001, TICO's global operations include Toyota Material Handling Group, which is represented in Europe by TMHE.
Previously displayed only in Japan, the Toyota Hybrid Concept Forklift combines the best of electric and internal combustion technology, taking advantage of the strengths of each power source. The concept forklift combines an IC engine, electric generator and battery in a design that allows the engine to operate with optimum fuel/emissions efficiency. The forklift shifts automatically between battery and engine mode, simultaneously recharging the battery during operation.
In line with its environmental commitment and philosophy of continuous improvement (kaizen), Toyota aims to develop core technologies that dramatically reduce exhaust emissions. Toyota is exploring a range of technologies using existing fuels as well as alternative energy sources in order to meet evolving industry needs over the short, medium and long term.
In keeping with this global vision, TMHE makes environmental responsibility a cornerstone of its business practices. TMHE designs environmental improvements into its products and processes to limit environmental impact in the four product life cycle stages: development, manufacturing, operation and recycling.
The Toyota Hybrid Concept Forklift would reduce environmental impact during the operation phase of the product life cycle. Brought to market, it would enhance TMHE's current range of electric forklifts and warehouse equipment, and clean-burning engine-powered trucks.
Andrew Elliot, TMHE Executive Vice President Marketing, says: “The Toyota Group has established itself both as the pioneer and the global leader in hybrid technology. As part of the world leader in materials handling equipment, Toyota Material Handling Europe is able to offer its customers leading-edge products, services and solutions, supported by the very latest technological innovations.”
Andrew Elliot adds: “At Toyota Material Handling Europe, we are committed to providing customers with materials handling solutions that strengthen their business while reducing the environmental impact of their operations. The Toyota Hybrid Concept Forklift is an example of the sort of technologies that we are exploring in order to meet our industry's evolving customer needs.”