Fuel Economy Comparison Studies of Forklift Transmission Architecture
Fuel economy is one of the major challenges for both on and off-road vehicles. Inefficient engine operation and loss of kinetic energy in the form of heat during braking are two of the major sources of wasted fuel energy. Rising energy costs, stringent emission norms and increased environmental awareness demand efficient drivetrain designs for the next generation of vehicles. This paper analyzes three different types of powertrain concepts for efficient operation of a forklift truck. Starting from a conventional torque convertor transmission, hydrostatic transmission and a hydraulic hybrid transmission (Eaton architecture) are compared for their fuel economy performance. Eaton hydraulic hybrid system is seen to perform much better compared to other two architectures. Improved fuel economy is attributed to efficient engine operation and regeneration of vehicle kinetic energy during braking.