In response to increasingly stringent emissions and noise regulations, demand for hybrid- and electric-powered mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) is growing worldwide. And, while environmental benefits may be the primary reason customers add hybrid and electric MEWPs to their fleets, versatility and simple maintenance requirements rapidly make these machines “must haves” in every rental fleet.
From Europe and North America — where the market for hybrid and electric technology continue to be strong — to Australia, Asia and Latin America — where wider adoption of these technologies is growing — customers are realizing that machines with both indoor and outdoor capabilities can boost utilization rates while delivering similar acquisition and long-term operating costs.
As a global MEWP manufacturer, as these types of machines are adopted more widely, one thing is clear: In all markets, a well-designed hybrid or electric machine needs to provide benefits that go beyond just environmental needs by offering ultimate versatility. Constantly aiming to support our rental and end-user customers’ success, answering the questions below has led Genie to the development of an expanding range of hybrid- and electric-powered MEWPs.
Is there a need for hybrid and electric MEWPs globally?
The simple answer is: Yes, there is a need for hybrid and electric MEWPs globally.
The longer answer is: Around the globe, capital cities and large provincial towns are going greener, and urban policies in general are seeking to find ways of improving the quality of the environment. Some municipalities are taking the issue further by imposing local emissions and noise regulations that are even stricter than those generally applied in their country.
For example, in Europe, the environment is at the center of national, regional and urban political debate. There are many cities where access for diesel vehicles will be simply be forbidden, which means more and more rental companies in that region are changing the way they manage their fleets by investing in an increasing number of clean solutions to support their aerial offering.
But in the Australasia regions, regulations and jobsites are extremely diverse, and the adoption of hybrid and electric access platforms varies accordingly.
Worldwide, though, for owners unfamiliar with these machines, they are often surprised by the versatility, low noise and simple maintenance requirements. These factors, and others, often drive return purchases of these machines, even without any special requirements to do so.
Why are these machines gaining so much popularity?
Electric scissor lifts have been strong sellers globally for quite a while, and we’re seeing more mature regions showing stronger growth in hybrid boom lift models. Interestingly, we’re now starting to see wider adoption of these machine technologies in less developed areas. Driving this adoption are several factors, including legislation around emissions, as well as rental companies wanting the versatility of hybrids/electric machines and lower maintenance regimes.
For example, in regions with tighter emissions restrictions, customers require a Tier 4F/ Stage 5 compliant diesel engine like the one that powers the Genie® FE hybrid system, especially one that doesn't require special ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel.
Going a step further, in some urban city centres that have banned diesel engines entirely, customers can select an all-electric model ranging from 13-ft (3.96 m) all the way to 60-ft (18.28 m). In regions without such restrictions, owners can still appreciate the simple maintenance of robust electrical componentry and the ultimate, "one machine, any jobsite" versatility of latest Genie hybrid machines.
How can Genie address the need for these types of MEWPs globally?
Addressing this growing market demand has been a key strategy in the development of our latest generation of our hybrid and electric powered models, such as the Genie® Z®-45 FE boom lift and the Genie GS™-1330m and GS-4655 scissor lift. We have developed hybrid and electric machine solutions to respond to customer needs yet take a holistic approach to developing these systems by addressing machine drive performance and efficiency.
The Genie solution: Our hybrid- and electric-powered products offer all of the benefits of these types of the machines (low noise, ultimate versatility, low total cost of ownership) with none of the traditional drawbacks of these types of machines. For example, the new Genie Z-45 FE boom, with its non-marking tires, can be operated in all-electric mode indoors on finished concrete slab floors, just like traditional slab DC boom models. However, Genie FE models also come standard with 4WD AC direct electric drive and oscillating axles for unbeatable rough terrain performance. As customers experience this ultimate versatility, it opens their eyes to how good a well-designed hybrid/electric machine can be.
How do we see the market for electric and hybrid lifts developing over the next few years and why?
One thing is clear, none of the factors driving the demand for, and growth of, “green” equipment solutions globally are going away anytime soon. If nothing else, they will only become more important in the future.
Focused on purposeful innovation, Genie hybrid and electric MEWPs offer clean and quiet jobsite equipment solutions that are designed to help contractors and rental companies rise to current — and future — challenges.