Access equipment: electric lifting

18 December 2018


Genie’s Z-60/37 FE hybrid boom

Hybrid and electric Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) have been around for years in one form or another, but it is their move into rough terrain equipment that is catching the attention of the industry.

It is no real shock to say that electric equipment will become a necessity in a world that is introducing increasingly strict emissions regulations, particularly in city centres. Nevertheless, it was clear at Intermat this year – the biggest construction exhibition of 2018 – that electric and hybrid solutions are now at the heart of many companies’ agendas.

One of the companies making its eco-friendly mark this year is France-based Haulotte. The company announced that all future self-propelled boom products launched will be electric-powered. The new Haulotte Pulseo Generation range of rough terrain booms marks the beginning of the strategy and is first represented by the 21m working height HA20 LE and HA20 LE Pro.

Haulotte is the first MEWP manufacturer to commit to all-electric powered platforms. Speaking at Intermat, Haulotte COO Alexandre Saubot confirmed no boom products powered purely by internal combustion engines will be launched from now on. “We want to be in the right position in the value chain and we want to put our customers in the right place in the value chain.”

Saubot explained that some existing diesel models will remain in the line-up for customers that require them, although he added, “We don’t know how long it will be before we get rid of all diesel machines, but it will happen.”

There will be plenty more launches in the Haulotte Pulseo Generation over the months and years to come. Equipped with non-marking tyres, the Pulseo models are suited to indoor work, but also have an oscillating axle and 4-wheel drive for outdoor work. The company points out that the machines are designed to offer the same level of performance as their diesel counterparts do.  

Going green

Genie has been concentrating on its environmentally-friendly MEWPs in recent years. Its hybrid and electric models include the 20m Z-60/37FE hybrid articulating boom lift, 12m Z-33/18 electric articulating boom and an upgraded model of its electric Genie GS-4047 scissor lift.

Genie says ‘green’ access equipment is becoming more popular in young and emerging access markets, as well as in mature markets like Europe. For example, China is set to skip Tier 4 standards and go straight to Tier 5. This means that in the future it will be less easy to sell old equipment, as emerging markets will increasingly require the latest emission-friendly equipment too.

It also means that new equipment will have to cover all eventualities. Thus, while Genie has no plans to move to exclusively electric launches, it will see the company expanding its product ranges along the lines of the FE hybrid and bi-energy equipment.

The practical side of developing electric and hybrid technologies is that customers will be able to use one machine for many or even all of their tasks, both inside and outside. Starting with hybrid products JLG recently launched one of the world’s largest articulated booms in this category.


The new JLG H800AJ has a working height of 26.38m

The rough terrain articulated H800AJ has a 26.38m working height and horizontal outreach of 15.8m. The model adds to JLG’s range of hybrid articulating booms in lower working heights. As Jan-Willem van Wier, JLG’s product manager for EMEA/Russia, points out, the trend is towards being Zone compliant, which has taken a further leap forward since the United Nations’ Paris Agreement concerning climate change back in 2016.

The machine has an 84V system, can operate in electric mode only and has a 20.9kW generator, combined with an electric motor. “It’s a parallel hybrid, which allows the motor to kick in during rough situations or when you need the batteries to charge,” explained van Wier, “If you are on a job site where no power has been installed you still need to charge the batteries overnight, which can be done in roughly four hours.”

Hybrid boom pioneers

Niftylift is well known for its hybrid technology thanks to its launch of the world’s first hybrid boom ten years ago. Last year the 21m working height HR21 4x4 (MKII) boom replaced the original HR21 4x4 (MK1) with a range of new features.

At 6,640kg, the model is very light, allowing it to be used in a greater number of locations, and it lowers transport costs. It is also said to offer a 41% reduction in fuel consumption compared to the first generation model.


Niftylift’s new HR12L

Niftylift has also just launched the HR12L (low-weight), all-electric, 12m working height boom. The HR12L is 1.79m wide and weighs just 2,540kgs, allowing it to be transported on a trailer, for low-cost transportation.

Manitou recently launched its latest booms, the 160/180 ATJ models. The launches reflect the importance the French-based company is placing on its growing Aerial Work Platform (AWP) line, as well as the main objective of being ready for European Stage 5 regulations. “Our engineers have completely reworked the powertrain, from axles to the engine. We also added a load-sensing pump for better steering precision,” said Samuel Viaud, global product manager, AWP.

Both models now have as standard a Stop and Go system to reduce fuel consumption and increase the resale value. In addition, the rough-terrain performance has been improved, including 45% gradeability.

For electric machines generally, the worldwide market has grown  by 18%, said Viaud, adding that this, “will continue to grow with all the restrictive standards concerning pollutant gas emissions and the emergence of more versatile electrical machines. The current trend towards environmental friendliness is encouraging manufacturers to explore new technologies.”

Scissor lifts

Holland Lift

Holland lift is another company expanding its electric and hybrid range

Big scissor lifts have also been a good source of hybrid development in recent years, particularly as the number of applications in big warehouses has increased, among others. “The fact is, in due course, you will not be able to use diesel-driven machines in indoor areas. Diesel drives continue to be interesting for now, regarding outdoor activities, as long as environmental requirements do not become even stricter,” commented Jacco Hartkoorn, Holland Lift International (HLI) sales manager.

HLI is catering for this with the parallel hybrid scissor lifts with a working height of 16m, 19m, 22m or 27.5m and a combined diesel and electric drive. It is a two-in-one machine that can be used indoors and outdoors.

Moving down the working height spectrum, innovations can be found in the long-established electric-only segment of the industry; slab scissors.

JCB introduced a range of electric scissor lifts, powered by Lithium-ion batteries earlier this year. Some in the industry believe that the Lithium battery is the future for all access equipment, thanks to its power, capacity and the fact its charge can be topped up at any time.

The technology has also been reducing in price. JCB Access believes its Lithium-ion solution will allow platforms to operate for up to 40% longer between recharging periods. Recharging times are said to be reduced by up to 50%.

As far as JCB’s Lithium-powered scissors are concerned, the manufacturer introduced a range of five models, to complement its nine standard electric scissors launched just over a year ago. The S1530E, S1930E, S2032E, S2646E and S2646E models have working heights of 6.6m through to 10.1m.

The Netherlands-based rental company Hoogwerkt is the first customer, having ordered 420 of the machines to form the company’s new ‘green’ rental business.

Industry opinion



Snorkel’s direct electric drive TM16E vertical mast

Snorkel CEO Matt Elvin commented on electrification, saying, “The efficiency of electric drive enables a machine to operate with a smaller engine, while maintaining the gradeability and speed of a full combustion engine power hydraulic-driven machine without all of the hydraulic efficiency losses that are common to hydrostatic closed-loop drive systems.”

Beyond its standard machines, Snorkel has recently added a line of electric drive telescopic mast lifts to its range. It represents a trend towards electric-drive equipment.

Designed for contractors and facilities maintenance use, the new self-propelled Snorkel TM16E is the third model in the line of Snorkel self-propelled telescopic mast lifts. The original Snorkel TM12 is now offered as the TM12E and TM16E with the electric drive system for increased efficiency.

The company plans to introduce electric drive slab scissor lifts in the future. “Due to the expense and complexity of diesel engines and the desire of many jobsites to have cleaner and quieter machines, more four-wheel drive, rough-terrain machines will be either hybrid or bi-energy,” commented Elvin.  

Truck mounts

The hybrid and electric revolution is not being missed by the truck mount segment. Ruthmann launched its first hybrid models in the third quarter of this year, the 16m and 18m working heights Ecoline 160 Hybrid and 180 Hybrid respectively.

The lateral outreach of the 180 is 9.5m, and it offers a basket capacity of 250kg to enable the truck-mounted aerial work platform to carry out a wide variety of different tasks.

However, Ruthmann says it did not want to design a ‘pseudo hybrid’ system. The result of its efforts, it says, is a genuine hybrid system. The Lithium battery is charged while the truck is driven between job sites. It then continues to be charged during operation, thanks to the integrated charging device.

Remaining on the subject of hybrids, but moving away from the 3.5 tonne GVW sector, the P 370 KS E is the first electric-powered platform in Palfinger’s Premium class range. “The demand for noise and emission-free platforms for a variety of jobs both indoors and out – maintaining bridges, working inside tunnels and buildings as well as construction jobs in urban areas and on large construction sites – continues to rise,” said a company spokesperson.


The P 370 KS E is the first electric-powered platform in Palfinger’s Premium class range

The P 370 KS E combines a diesel drive system with an electric drive system.  This means that it offers the performance and service life of a diesel engine at low operating costs, according to the Austrian-based manufacturer.

Depending on how the product is used, the P 370 KS E can be operated for a full working day in electric mode and using an external power supply, charging can be performed on site during downtimes or breaks.

Multitel Pagliero has launched its latest hybrid-powered model. The platform is the standard Multitel MT 162 EX, with more than 16m of working height and 11.5m of working outreach. It is mounted either on an Iveco Daily 35 S 13 or an MB Sprinter chassis cab and stays well below the 3,500kg weight limit with fuel and driver.  The unit is powered in a conventional manner to travel to site, although a second alternator on the vehicle engine charges the batteries.

When on the work site, the platform can be deployed on its outriggers using either the vehicle PTO or the on-board batteries. Thereafter the platform will give a full day’s work powered by the batteries.

It is clear that the segment of access equipment is embracing electrification and hybridisation, and that this is one trend that is here to stay.

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Andy Brown Editor, Editorial, UK - Wadhurst Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786224 E-mail: [email protected]
Neil Gerrard Senior Editor, Editorial, UK - Wadhurst Tel: +44 (0) 7355 092 771 E-mail: [email protected]
Catrin Jones Deputy Editor, Editorial, UK – Wadhurst Tel: +44 (0) 791 2298 133 E-mail: [email protected]
Eleanor Shefford Brand Manager Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786 236 E-mail: [email protected]