By Chris McCullough
- MERLO has just launched some new ranges of its all new ‘Generation 0’ fully electric eWorker telehandler with promises of more additions to the family later
- The eWorker is the result of years of research into an alternative solution to vehicles fitted with combustion engines and this latest range boosts zero emissions, zero noise and zero use of fossil fuels
Merlo says it has “created vehicles that not only reduce noise and emissions, but also offer exceptional performance with ultra-compact dimensions to achieve a level of manoeuvrability never seen before in a telehandler.”
Merlo engineers have designed the new Generation 0 telehandlers starting from a blank sheet of paper and with a 100% electric approach.
It is, they say, not the electrification of a conventional telehandler, but an innovative handling product that combines the advantages and winning features of telehandlers with those of forklifts.
The new eWorker has been developed to benefit customers by offering high traction for off-road work and at the same time to be able to operate indoors and in areas where limited environmental impact is required. If needed, it can travel on public roads and tow trailers, while at the same time reduce the total ownership costs and payback time.
The eWorker is the result of a targeted redesign of all components, from the boom to the chassis, from the axles to the hydraulic system, in order to obtain a solution capable of maximising autonomy and performance while reducing the hourly operating costs to a minimum.
Design criteria included the development of a fully electric machine that could last the full working day, with dimensions similar to those of an industrial forklift, plus it had to be equipped with a telescopic boom.
To suit different customers the eWorker has four ISO size, all-drive wheels of a size suitable for working not only indoors but also off-road in the construction and agricultural sectors.
The two solutions, with 2WD or 4WD, offer unique advantages and are designed to improve performance at work. The 2WD models have been designed to increase the autonomy of the machine, with a class-leading maximum encumbrance while steering of just 2,850 mm, thanks to a steering angle of up to 85 degrees. The 4WD models, on the other hand, ensure maximum performance in terms of transmission, to guarantee excellent grip on all surfaces, even off-road.
Technically speaking, there is the transmission layout with two electric motors at the front, one for each wheel, for 2WD models, and the addition of a third electric motor at the rear side, positioned vertically and flanged on the rear axle, for 4WD models.
This solution is patented by Merlo and poses a number of advantages including the positioning of the battery in the middle of the vehicle, which has lowered the centre of gravity and increased stability.
Also manoeuvrability has been boosted due to the high steering angle of the rear drive wheels, while an electronic traction management system guarantees the correct speed of all four wheels without slipping, the automatic insertion of the electronic differential lock and regenerative braking.
A fourth electric motor, connected to a load sensing hydraulic pump, allows all the movements of the telescopic boom. Again, in order to optimise energy efficiency, a dedicated electronic control unit manages the rpm of the electric motor and the oil flow of the hydraulic distributor.
In addition, to reduce battery consumption, the telescopic boom descends by gravity via a valve controlled by the same control unit.
The eWorker is designed to be used in different working environments and allows the use of a wide range of equipment including forks, floating and with side-shift; multiple bucket types and equipment for suspended loads such as lifting hooks, or fly jibs with hook or winch.
It also can handle equipment for other special applications such as concrete mixers and sweeper buckets. Another important application is the aerial work platform with overhead self-propulsion. This arrangement will allow operators to drive directly from the aerial work platform, thus drastically reducing maintenance time at height.
All models can be customised to suit customers’ needs. In fact, both models will be available with an open or closed cab, with different possible options, such as a heating system or boom suspension, and they can be approved for road traffic, either as self-propelled machinery or as a tractor. For applications in special working environments such as cold stores, a heated windscreen and heated seat are available.