Friday, August 24, 2007

Toyota develops fuel cell lift truck

Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A., Inc. displayed a prototype of a fuel cell lift truck at ProMat 2007 in Chicago. The prototype, called the Toyota FCHV-F, was developed by Toyota Industries Corporation in cooperation with Toyota Motor Corporation.

“ Toyota’s commitment to the environment is widely illustrated through its vast motor vehicle and truck applications,” said Shankar Basu, president and CEO of TMHU. “However, this is the first example of a fuel cell lift truck that is designed to significantly reduce emissions.”

Using hydrogen as its main power source, the Toyota FCHV-F produces electricity without combustion and generates zero carbon dioxide emissions. Overall operating costs are reduced due to less fuel consumption and lower maintenance.

Maintenance is lower than electric lift trucks, whose batteries must be periodically charged, refilled with water and replaced. In addition, the fuel cell hybrid system ensures constant power delivery and performance, eliminating the reduction in voltage output that occurs as batteries discharge.

These and other features make fuel cell lift trucks ideally suited to conditions found at large distribution centers, where lift trucks often run continual 24-hour shifts. These individual plants will be able to establish their own hydrogen fueling stations and achieve significantly lower total logistics costs.

Toyota plans to continue to advance its fuel cell technology and bring a fuel cell lift truck to market in the next few years.

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