Kalmar warns over speedy EU transition to electric

Kalmar warns that the EU is behind the front of the pack when it comes to adopting electric equipment such as forklifts Kalmar warns that the EU is behind the front of the pack when it comes to adopting electric equipment such as forklifts
Industry Database

In its latest blog entry, Kalmar talks about the uptake of electric equipment and how it will be much quicker than Europe realises posing the question if it will be ready to adopt the technology.

Peter Soderberg, vice president, offering development, Kalmar, said that and when it comes, the change won't be driven by legislation, it will be driven by the market which is changing rapidly.

“It is a big misconception that the shift to eco-efficient technology will require a major shift in Pan-European regulation. Judging by what is happening around the world right now, this is not the case," he warned.

US example

Mr Soderberg said that rapid technological development is taking place which is increasing manufacturing volumes.

Once the new electric systems for the mass market auto industry reach technical maturity and economies of scale, the market will be opened up for cost-effective all-electric reachstackers and large forklift trucks, where the cost of battery technology is still a limiting factor.

But he warned that Europe is well behind the front of the pack in terms of being ready to adopt these new technologies.

It's opposite in California USA, where the state is pushing hard with both regulations and incentives for eco-efficient technologies.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have both announced aggressive plans that mandate only zero emission or near zero emission horizontal transport equipment in new procurement from 2020 and for 100% of drayage fleets to be zero emission by 2030.

This is the same time period that is normal for the EU to plan for adaption to the next level of diesel emissions standards.

Common misconception

Mr Soderberg added that another common misconception is that the drive towards green equipment is being driven by federal legislation or energy policies there.

But the reality is that emissions reduction is seen as a priority by voters and lawmakers in the state, which is why it is happening.

Likewise, shareholders and customers also have a vote and businesses are listening. Global companies with extensive logistics operations, such as UPS, Amazon and IKEA, are asking for electrically powered equipment right now.

“Here in Europe, most of the conditions are in place to enable the quick development of eco-efficient technology, but our regulatory processes are so slow that both national governments and the EU have great difficulty impacting the market quickly,” Mr Soderberg said.

He said that Europe is beginning to see local and regional zero emissions initiatives coming from cities, regions and port authorities, to help tackle the questions that Pan-European legislation has not yet caught up with.

But the worry is that if the industry keeps conducting business the way it is used to working, it won’t be able to keep up with customer demand.

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