The iVT Electric and Hybrid Industrial Vehicle Technology Symposium November 9-10 took place in Cologne Germany, the first of a series splitting out Industrial EVs from the whole subject of EVs and batteries covered in UKIP, the organisers' Novi Michigan event every year. About 200 attended with around six table top exhibitors. Most of the speakers were on topic and had valuable things to say. Others varied from McLaren to hydraulics people and those modestly improving conventional vehicles.
Avid example of initial electrification opportunity
CALSTART, the US non-profit helping it all to happen told us how the rapid electrification of buses and, at the other extreme, port equipment is exerting a pincher movement on the bulk of land and water-based industrial and commercial vehicles to electrify similarly. The rest come later because they are tougher to electrify with huge surges of power and less pressure from legislators and support from backers to do so and that matters because up front cost is much higher in most cases. On the other hand, many speakers describing very different electrification projects reported fuel savings of a massive 30 to 80%. All this referred to medium to large machines: indoor forklifts went electric ages ago under pressure of law but they were not discussed though there was coverage of commercial vans and a lot on wheel loaders.
Frost and Sullivan nicely summarised the megatrends as:
It saw the technology coming in:
Frost and Sullivan saw the technological forces at work as:
Clean/ carbon neutral
Oerlikon gave a methodology for introducing some of the gains:
However, for most industrial vehicles, the reasons for going electric were often not compelling in the view of many speakers, a bit of tweaking of conventional powertrains or at best going mild hybrid (torque assist and full regenerative braking but no electric drive) suffices. Indeed the many farmers short of money are unlikely to do anything. One speaker suggested the 100 year old idea of cable running to your tractor but the audience did not seem very moved by this.
Where reasons for electrification apply, we learnt that they are often different from what drives electrification of on-road vehicles. For example, near silent working in cities permits longer hours of work and an improved public image for construction. That is rather like electric aircraft being allowed to fly at night. Having torque vectoring of drive wheels and no judder means less chance of damaging delicate road surfaces when crossing them with heavy equipment. Electrically driven arms and tools are more precise linked to electric drivetrains and can give maximum power from zero.
For more see Industrial and Commercial Electric Vehicles on Land 2016-2026 , Agricultural Robots and Drones 2016-2026: Technologies, Markets, Players and Electric Vehicles for Construction, Agriculture and Mining 2015-2025
Further articles will reveal more.
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: Electric Vehicles: Everything is Changing. Europe 2017 on 10 - 11 May 2017 in Berlin, Germany hosted by IDTechEx.