By Lindsey Anderson26 October 2021
While efforts are underway to make the construction industry more sustainable, data from the Global Alliance of Buildings and Construction’s Global Status Report shows just how far we still have to go.
Just two years ago, the Global ABC’s Building Climate Tracker unveiled a stark reality – emissions from the buildings and construction industry hit an all-time high. More than 38 percent of global carbon emissions come from building and construction operations. On top of that, construction uses about 32 percent of the world’s natural resources.
While reducing diesel-related emissions is a vital goal, the realization that combustion-based power must have a limited future has led to an increasingly greater concentration on hybrid and battery technologies, along with other green options, like hydrogen, which is becoming a very real alternative.
A move towards hydrogen has been in the scope of OEMs for many years but there is now an acceleration in the marketplace for this power type. For example, Manitou has vowed to develop hydrogen for its telehandler equipment and thinks it and lithium batteries can happily co-exist for its powered access products.
Of all the construction-related sectors, the access industry lends itself to the acceleration of green energy, thanks to the equipment being, in many cases, smaller, in comparison to other construction equipment and its regular use in indoor settings and environmentally sensitive areas.
Manitou Group’s president and CEO Michel Denis recently spoke to sister publication Access International about the company’s low-carbon and sustainability goals for the future.
According to Denis, over the next five years, 40 percent of all the equipment that Manitou produces across its product ranges of telehandlers, MEWPs, skid steers, forklifts and wheel loaders, will be low emission equipment. In the MEWP segment, all new projects will be based around the development of electric-powered models and lithium batteries are set to take over from lead acid in the manufacturer’s 100 percent-electric Oxygen series, first launched at Bauma in 2019.
“We will continue to offer the existing [diesel] range,” Denis explains. “If you want a [diesel] boom today or tomorrow then we will provide it, and for 10 or 15 years, however long the need for diesel remains. But we will not spend any more in development. All new models will be 100-percent electric.”
Electrifying its entire telehandler range is significantly more complex than doing so across the existing rough terrain MEWP series. While the company has promised to start with the rotating MRT range, the process will not be immediate. In terms of hydrogen, the company is in partnership with specialists in France, which will see its first hydrogen-powered telehandler launched in 2023.
Additionally, Haulotte has also confirmed a lithium route. The 100-percent-electric Pulseo range, launched with a RT boom lift in 2017, and added to last year with RT scissor lifts, also started out being powered by lead acid batteries – a situation that is set to change.
Alexandre Saubot, CEO of Haullote, says, “We are working on lithium for the future. But, at the end of the day, we are at the beginning of a longer journey.
“We are a small player in that chain. We have a strong desire to secure zero emissions, but we are following technology. We watch where the world is leading what is possible and requested in the market today.”
Recently, Tennessee-based Equipment Finders, Inc. (EFI) purchased two fully electric HS5390 E PRO scissors from Haulotte.
“The new Pulseo electric scissors are perfect for our customers who will be utilizing them at huge data centers and storage buildings,” says Scott Hatcher, EFI’s owner. “They offer a remarkable load capacity and embed Haulotte latest’s innovations. This zero-emission lift can also be used indoors. We look forward to presenting it to our customers.”
The HS5390 E PRO features a working height of 58 feet, 6 inches and platform capacity of 1,654 pounds. When extended, the platform offers 19 feet, 4 inches of working length and 6 feet, 2 inches of width.
The fully electric scissor lift can be driven while at height (up to 42 feet, 8 inches) and features gradeability of 40 percent. A 48V battery pack can deliver a full day of work and has three charging options. The primary charger recharges the batteries at the end of the shift from any standard 110 -230V single phase electrical network. An optional three-phase accelerated charger provides an 80 percent charge in three hours. Thirdly, a 5.5kW removable range extender combustion engine can be used to rapidly recharge the batteries while the machine is operational.
“We see a big increase in interest from customers in the electrification of MEWP products,” explains Haulotte’s Marketing Product Manager Paul Jensen. “The majority of research right now seems to be in converting internal combustion rough terrain products to electric or hybrid powered rough terrain products.”
Haulotte helped lead that trend in the articulating market with the release of the HA 61 LE and HA 61 LE PRO articulating booms in 2018, introducing the idea at the time that all new Haulotte machines will be electric.
“As exciting and disruptive as this change is to the industry, the most recent product by Haulotte, the SIGMA 46 articulating slab boom, already an electric machine, advances the technology another step,” Jensen says. “When it was time to update the original electric 46-foot slab boom, it would have been easy to just polish up the rough edges a bit and release it with the same model name.
“Haulotte has made big advances in battery management and has worked hard to apply that learning to all of the battery powered machines in the range,” Jensen notes. “The goal of the innovative, new Activ’Energy Management system, is to protect the biggest investment and the first maintenance expense on an electric machine, the battery system.”
Haulotte’s Activ’Energy Management system extends the life of the battery by optimizing the charging curve, prompting operators to comply with best charging practices when possible, and can even safely awaken a battery that has been abused by too deep of a discharge. Haulotte says the Activ’Energy Management system also reduces maintenance costs and requirements while enhancing performance on the job site, a strong way to enhance the overall TCO of a battery powered machine.
A longtime producer of electric-powered equipment, JLG debuted an industry-first during ConExpo 2020 when it took the wraps off its fully electric scissor lift, the DaVinci AE1932. JLG also currently offers many boom lift models, including articulated, telescopic, straight mast and compact crawler, with electric or optional electric power.
“One of the biggest responsibilities we have today as the leading global aerial equipment manufacturer is the need to continually evolve and introduce technologies and features that will enable our customers to be more successful and increasingly efficient on the job, while improving safety,” says Nate Hoover, director of product management for JLG boom lifts. “That includes responding to the market demand for more electrified equipment options.”
Skyjack is also moving along with plans to expand its hybrid and fully electric product offerings.
“We have received considerable feedback on current and future market expectations and are progressing accordingly to deliver machines that meet those expectations in the future,” says Corey Connolly, product manager at Skyjack. “Current infrastructure limitations are still creating strong demand for diesel and hybrid machines, but that will change in the coming years, particularly in areas like Europe and China that are rapidly changing their emission regulations.”
Most recently, the newest lithium-powered articulated boom lift from Snorkel was debuted. The A46JRTE became the company’s first lithium-powered rough terrain articulated boom lift when it was debuted in late September. It joins eight other lithium-powered Snorkel models which have been introduced since late 2019, including the SL26RTE and SL30RTE electric Speed Levels, the S2255RTE, S2755RTE, S2770RTE, S3370RTE and S3970RTE electric rough terrain scissor lifts, and the electric SR5719E/SR626E compact rough terrain telehandler.
Utilizing the same lithium-ion battery pack solution as the other mobile elevating work platforms in the family, the A46JRTE offers a true zero emission rough terrain solution, without compromising on the reliability and four-wheel drive capabilities of the diesel equivalent. It comes as standard with three 111Ah (17.25kWh) lithium-ion battery packs, which satisfies even heavy-use applications. For very heavy use applications, or where long-distance driving is required, an additional 111Ah (5.75kWh) battery pack can be optioned.
“The electrification of the Snorkel A46JRTE was the next logical step in our development of a zero-emission rough terrain family, and was also driven by customer demand,” explains Snorkel CEO Matthew Elvin.
Expect to see more electrification from Snorkel in the coming year.