Toyota develops fuel cell lift truck

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Toyota Material Handling is displaying at ProMat 2007 a prototype of what it calls the industry’s first fuel cell lift truck. The prototype, called the Toyota FCHV-F, was developed by Toyota Industries Corp. in cooperation with Toyota Motor Corp.

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

According to Toyota, the FCHV-F — using hydrogen as its main power source — produces electricity without combustion and generates zero carbon dioxide emissions; overall operating costs are reduced due to less fuel consumption. The company says maintenance is significantly lower than electric lift trucks, whose batteries must be periodically charged, refilled with water and replaced; and 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, Toyota says, 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.

Toyota’s products are on display in Chicago at ProMat, booth No. 2019, through Thursday, Jan. 11.