Living Up to the Hype

by Adam Hailey - Director of Global Design Engineering On Jan 4, 2018, 03:00 AM

Hybrid aerial work platforms are not new to the market. For nearly two decades, manufacturers have developed hybrid technologies for customers who demand more operating flexibility and value and want environmental sustainability.

A true pioneer of the engine/battery power technology, Genie developed its first hybrid models nearly 20 years ago. Bi-energy solutions found on machines like the Genie® Z™-45/25 BE boom feature a smaller engine than what is required on its pure diesel counterpart, so less fuel is required. An on-board generator gives our customers a second option for battery charging – even during machine operation.

Customers quickly took to these early hybrid AWP models, and why not?! Operating strictly on

battery power, the hybrid allowed for indoor operation. Plus, the bi-energy design enabled these units to be used on outdoor applications, maximizing utilization rates for contractors and giving rental companies more applications for machine rental.

For Genie, this was just the first hybrid step. We studied how these units were used in the field, received customer feedback on what worked well and where improvements could be made and brainstormed ways to expand operating flexibility of our units.

Our customers demanded hybrid models that performed just as well, if not better than our diesel only machines on rugged rough-terrain applications and offered zero-emissions operation for indoor work. And, they wanted us to sell them for about the same acquisition cost.

Our next generation of hybrid technology – fuel electric (FE) – delivers.

No-Compromise Performance with FE

The FE hybrid system powering the Genie Z™-60/37 FE boom represents significant advancements in the AWP hybrid design evolution. Starting with lessons learned from bi-energy, we took a holistic approach in developing the FE system, addressing machine drive, performance and efficiency.

The FE system works in much the same way as a hybrid car. After “hybrid” mode has been activated, the control system senses when the batteries need a charge and automatically manages the engine operation for battery charging, maximizing machine operation time. Laser focused on eliminating inefficiencies found with hydraulic drive and lift systems, engineers designed out unnecessary machine weight for the Genie Z-60/37 FE compared to its diesel only counterpart.

Living Up to the HypeThe primary efficiency gain offered by the FE system is its AC direct drive. It’s 50% more efficient than DC electric-over-hydraulic drives, maximizing battery life. The simple AC system reduces the number of hydraulic valves, hoses, and fittings, and there are no brushes to replace or commutators to service, reducing time in the shop and lowering operating costs. With their IP67 rating, the sealed AC drive motors protect against dust ingress and can be immersed in water up to 1-m deep, allowing these models to go anywhere a rough terrain diesel unit can.

Beyond the drive, this next generation hybrid system addresses inefficiencies in the hydraulic lift for more efficient and productive machine operation. In total, the Genie FE model requires only 60% to 70% of the energy required by diesel-over-hydraulic units, all while requiring a much smaller mechanical engine that does not require any additional aftertreatment, such as EGR, SCR or DPF technology, to meet emissions standards. The combination of smaller engine and battery power results in the FE model operating about a week on a small fuel tank.

Best yet, utilization rates and return on invested capital are optimized with this revolutionary hybrid. Operating in “DC” mode delivers zero-emissions operation, allowing the units to be used indoors, while switching into “hybrid” mode delivers outdoor rough terrain performance without the concern of full battery discharge. Additionally, both the generator and battery systems can be used at the same time, giving the FE unit an extra performance boost in the field.

Efficiency increases, performance boosts and unmatched jobsite flexibility, these are all the hallmarks of the hybrid system found on the Genie Z-60/37 FE boom.

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