MHI Markets World’s First Engine/Battery Hybrid Forklift Trucks

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has developed the world’s first(1) engine/battery hybrid forklift trucks with 4.0 to 5.0 ton loading capacities. Domestic marketing of the new "GRENDiA EX Hybrid" models began today. By integrating a lithium-ion secondary battery developed in-house and high-efficiency motors with small-size, low-exhaust- emission diesel engines that comply with new emission regulations, the company has realized outstanding environment-friendly, fuel-efficient performance: approximately 39% greater fuel efficiency than the company’s pre-existing models. Initially the GRENDiA EX Hybrid will be available only in the domestic market.

The world’s first hybrid forklifts with on-board lithium-ion battery adopt "series & parallel" operation(2) for travel mode and "parallel" operation(3) for lifting. The power train consists primarily of the lithium-ion battery, a diesel engine, two induction motors and an inverter. By employing the series & parallel method and its high-capacity lithium-ion battery, MHI has successfully downsized the engine while maintaining performance equal to earlier models. The combination not only boosts fuel efficiency significantly but also contributes greatly to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by slashing engine displacement by one-third. The GRENDiA EX Hybrid is MHI’s first product to be equipped with its proprietary lithium-ion battery, which the company is currently preparing for full-scale commercial production.

The GRENDiA EX Hybrid is the hybrid offering in the engine-powered GRENDiA EX series, with 3.5 to 5.5 ton loading capacities, which MHI began marketing this summer. In addition to enhanced environmental friendliness and higher fuel efficiency, the hybrid models also feature a rigid frame design, powerful workability and high maneuverability achieved through parts sharing with the GRENDiA EX, the base model. Incorporating various additional functions, the hybrid models realize the high level of safety, efficiency and easy maintenance required for engine-powered forklifts in this class.

The new hybrid models feature MHI’s proprietary Mast and Travel Interlock System, a safety system to boost accident prevention, and a digital speedometer as standard equipment. MHI further offers users maintenance cost reduction support through optional Fleet Management Services (FMS), under which the company proposes customers the optimal fleet deployment based on comprehensive analysis of specific operating conditions and maintenance costs.

As environmental awareness heightens globally, today demand to reduce environmental burdens is increasing sharply in the industrial-use vehicle market too, as indicated by the fact that battery-operated models now comprise the majority of domestic forklift truck sales. However, in the category exceeding 4.0 ton loading capacity, which requires powerful lifting, engine-power forklifts have remained dominant.

In light of the current market trend, MHI now offers new hybrid models that provide uncompromised reliability and economic efficiency while simultaneously responding to the world’s call for significant reduction in energy consumption and CO2 emissions, all accomplished leveraging the company’s existing components already proven in its battery- and engine-powered forklifts.

Following the introduction of its new hybrid forklifts, MHI now intends to step up its proactive marketing activities in the diversifying forklift market, as a way of enhancing customer satisfaction.

(1) Based on MHI survey at end of September 2009.
(2) A method that enables driving of the wheels either by engine only, battery only, or engine and drive motor simultaneously.
(3) A method for operating the hydraulic pump by engine and lifting motor simultaneously.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (TSE: 7011, 'MHI'), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is one of the world's leading heavy machinery manufacturers. MHI's diverse lineup of products and services encompasses shipbuilding, power plants, chemical plants, environmental equipment, steel structures, industrial and general machinery, aircraft, space rocketry and air-conditioning systems.