Manitou has been busy exploring alternatives to powering its equipment with diesel engines.

The company appears to favour electrical drive and is spearheading two initiatives towards this end.

Hydrogen fuel cell

The first is the building of a hydrogen-powered telehandler prototype which will initially be targeted at the construction industry.

Unlike JCB, the French company is pursuing hydrogen fuel cell technology which is a far more efficient method of releasing the energy than combustion.

Manitou hydrogen batteries
For the timebeing, Manitou is still firmly wedded to the diesel engine to power its loaders

This method produces power directly from the fuel cell without the need for generators to convert mechanical energy to electricity, but they are expensive.

This expense is due to the need for a platinum catalyst within the cell; platinum is limited in supply and so carries a high price.

There is a great deal of research going into finding a cheaper alternative but, just like the hunt for better battery chemistries, the ideal compound remains elusive despite the large sums being spent upon the quest.

Batteries not forgotten

Manitou is not neglecting the possibility of using batteries to power its electrically-driven machines, and to this end it has invested in a battery fabrication company.

The company is easyLi, based in Poitiers, central France, which is described as “a specialist in the design and production of lithium-ion batteries”.

Manitou believes by purchasing 87% of the company it gives the group specific skills in the context of its energy transition strategy.

Manitou loaders hydrogen
Research into alternative fuel sources is a far cry from the company’s beginnings back in 1958

easyLi develops and manufactures li-ion batteries for a multitude of purposes. It can either custom build batteries or mass produce its own designs to suit a particular application.

By bringing this knowledge and expertise within the company, Manitou is securing the ability to design and build its own batteries rather than relying on third party providers as other manufacturers will be doing.

New Manitou telehandler

Away from the turmoil of seeking out alternative power sources for its machines, Manitou has released a new model, the MLT 850-145V+.

The two primary features of this machine are its 7.6m reach height and a maximum lift capacity of 5,000kg, both driven by a 200L oil pump, powered by a 141hp Yanmar diesel.

The transmission is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) unit giving a 40km/h top speed and it has the option of joystick steering although this is not approved for road use.