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T2 goes Electric

Kalmar has introduced an electric version of its T2 Terminal tractor in North America.


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The new fully electric Kalmar Ottawa T2 tractor
The new fully electric Kalmar Ottawa T2 tractor

The Kalmar Ottawa Electric T2 Terminal Tractor was launched at the Kalmar Ottawa Dealer Meeting in Kansas City, USA, on 1 May 2018. First introduced in 2015, the T2 is Kalmar’s flagship tractor for the North American market, designed for use in warehouses, container terminals and other applications where short-distance highway travel is required.

When the T2 was first launched it was notable that Kalmar did not offer hybrid or electric versions, one of the reasons being that these were not commercially viable unless the purchaser could access grant funding to cover the price premium over a diesel machine. There were also major concerns in the port sector over the duty cycle of electric machines, following experience with Balqon electric tractors in Los Angeles.

In the interim other companies have moved to meet the small, but growing, demand for an all electric terminal tractor, most notably Orange EV, a company based in Kansas that has built a business removing the diesel drive train from a Kalmar platform and installing a fully electric drive system.

Kalmar has now moved to launch its own all-electric machine, using “the very latest in Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technology." The new tractor also and features an on-board inverter charger that allows the machine to be "opportunity charged during natural working breaks”. A battery monitoring system indicates to the driver when a charge is required.

This is a different approach to Orange EV, which offers “standard” and “fast” charging options. The standard full charge takes 4 hours using 440V supply or 8 hours on 220V (to charge the battery from 15% to 95%), while the fast option cuts that to 2 hours (440V supply).

In a press release Kalmar said it is bring an all electric machine to the market now “to meet the growing demand for electrically powered solutions, with a powertrain that is not only much cheaper to run than a comparable diesel machine, but which is also easier to operate and maintain. Electric terminal tractors have fewer moving parts, which means simpler, faster servicing and longer intervals between maintenance breaks”.

Kalmar also noted that an electric machine has a number of benefits for drivers: “The electric powertrain offers smoother acceleration and more power at the top end compared to a diesel-powered machine, enabling drivers to feel more in control. It also generates less noise, vibrations and heat - and importantly no fumes - making the cabin a much healthier and more comfortable working environment.”

Gina Lopez, Vice President, Terminal Tractors, Kalmar: "With the regulations relating to vehicle emissions becoming increasingly strict, more and more businesses are seeking alternatives to diesel-powered container and trailer-handling equipment. We have used our decades of knowledge and experience in delivering reliable, cost-efficient terminal tractors to create a solution that will benefit our customers’ bottom line and improve their productivity, while enhancing their sustainability credentials at the same time.”

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