PRIME MOVERS FOR FUTURE LIFT TRUCKS

An examination of future trends in lift truck developments suggests a stable product line with a requirement for increased power at a time of escalating fuel costs. Containerization is extending the use of lift trucks for cost-effective and efficient product handling. The range and scope of lift trucks is very large, but most sales are in the 4000-5000 lb. class. Trucks of this type have probably attained their optimum technical level through replacement of the dry clutch/mechanical gearbox combination with an oil clutch/automatic transmission. Future development must be toward greater flexibility and better ergonomics, with more power. At projected energy use rates, natural crude resources will not satisfy demand much beyond the year 2000, even with exploitation of tar sands and oil shale deposits. Natural gas and conventional nuclear fuels may reach a critical stage about the same time. Economic and social pressures and political expediency in favor of energy conservation will increase during the 1980's, resulting in fuel and prime mover changes for the 1990's. Although the eventual depletion of coal reserves and advances in ceramic technology should lead to hydrogen as the main fuel in the long term and the commercial exploitation of Stirling cycle engines and gas turbines, two simpler options are available: a switch away from gasoline-like fuels toward wide-cut low-specification fuel oils, and the introduction of gasoline-alcohol blends, followed by an eventual switch to alcohol alone. Within the time span of the survey (up to about year 2000), no new prime movers will be introduced. The continuing growth of the lift truck market will, in the short term, benefit all motive power sources. The market share of battery/electric trucks, however, will decline in favor of heat-engined ones until the early 1990's, when a breakthrough in the commercialization of a high-density, lightweight cell is forecast. In the intervening period, gasoline and diesel-derived engines will increase their market share, with diesels showing the greater growth in the short term. These will be overtaken by stratified charge engines. The wide use of alcohol as a primary fuel will prevent the reduction or containment of the rise in operating costs by introducing a broad specification fuel oil and the associated injected stratified charge engine.

  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Presented at SAE Off-Highway Vehicle Meeting and Exposition, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 11-14 September 1978.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)

    400 Commonwealth Drive
    Warrendale, PA  United States  15096
  • Authors:
    • BERTODO, R
    • Smith, P
  • Publication Date: 1978

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00399006
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: SAE 780752, HS-025 574U
  • Files: HSL, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 31 1985 12:00AM