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Deutz shows glimpse of the future with electrified loaders

Addressing the press with its ambitions for a sustainable and carbon neutral future, engine manufacturer Deutz also revealed its new electrically driven loader concepts.

 

Alex Heath reports...

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Global engine powerhouse Deutz has embarked on the electrification of its product portfolio. Branded e-Deutz, the company plans on having products for sale as soon as 2020.


Following the acquisition of fellow German company Torqeedo, specialists in electric propulsion in the leisure boat industry, the company is using the recently acquired technology to test full electrical and two hybrid drive systems. Recognising the global shift in emissions and fuel efficiency awareness, the engine manufacturer is testing prototypes of the two alternative drive systems, aiming to equip the technology to agricultural vehicles which already feature its diesel burners within the next two years.


A brace of both Manitou and Liebherr telescopic loaders have been equipped with a hybrid system and fully electrical system, with little difference in performance, according to Deutz.

 

Key to the success of the project, especially regarding the hybrid system, is the modular design the system uses. Theoretically any machine that features one of the company’s 3.6-litre diesel engines could have it removed and have a 2.2-litre or 2.9-litre hybrid unit put in its place, with minimal wire and pipe rerouting. This is a strategic move from Deutz as it will open the opportunity for a broad range of machinery manufacturers to use the Deutz systems, instead of having to develop their own.


At present all the systems Deutz is developing use the host vehicle’s hydrostatic or mechanical drive, however, electric wheel motors are in development and the next logical step on this journey. Integrating these into the machine will be a harder challenge for the company, as it will require them to sell the complete package to a manufacturer, rather than just a motor.

Loader developments

So how do they drive?

The Deutz strategy

Who are Torqeedo?

Who are Torqeedo?

Torqeedo are a start-up German company, specialising in producing drive systems for the leisure boat industry. Its product portfolio includes in-board and out-board motors and battery systems, producing between 0.5kW to 200kW. It is currently the largest seller of electric propulsion systems globally and also claims to have the best technology and performance in the sector.

 

Before the €70million (£64.8million) takeover by Deutz in September 2017, the company relied on capital venturists to provide the necessary funding for research and development.

 

The company has since been fully integrated into the Deutz family, sharing facilities in Cologne, Germany, and knowledge sharing ongoing between the two companies.

 

Ambitions for the future continue to focus on the marine industry. Development of a 200kW-plus motor is a priority, as is creating river ferries targeted at cities such as London and Bangkok. However, collaborating with Deutz to roll out its land-based electric propulsion technology will in the short term be the company’s biggest commitment, with Deutz wanting the tech commercially available in the next two years.

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