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Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) is poised to launch a range of electric-powered towing tractors in Australia.

It has begun industry trials with a forward-control 1.8-tonne draw bar pull 2TE18 model.

The Toyota 2TE18 electric tractor has one-fifth the energy usage cost of a comparable diesel-powered tractor, and its greenhouse gas impact is half that of a diesel equivalent.

The Toyota electric tractor can tow up to 25,000kg and has potential applications with airlines, courier companies, and indoor manufacturing and processing plants.

It uses proven inverter and AC motor technology from Toyota's 3.5-tonne payload battery electric forklift range.

The electric-powered Toyota tractor recovers energy when braking, coasting and changing direction (switchback mode) by regenerative braking.

Regenerative braking is the process where the tractor's kinetic energy is captured as electricity (by the electric motor acting as a generator) rather than wasted as heat through the friction brakes.

Toyota Material Handling Australia's brand manager, Toyota product, Bob Walmsley, said the electric-powered towing tractor offered significant operating cost, environmental and OH&S benefits compared with a diesel tractor.

"The whole-of-life cost of an electric tug is significantly less than an internal combustion tractor," he said.

"The cost of energy is 20 per cent that of a diesel tractor, and the CO2 emitted while generating the electricity required to power it is half that emitted by a diesel tractor."

Mr Walmsley said maintenance costs are also less, thanks to the use of an AC motor and simplified power train.

"The AC motor is more energy-efficient, so it can be smaller, and it has no 'consumables' compared with the brushes and commutator in a DC motor.

"Toyota has also paid attention to the details. The 2TE tractors have LED tail lamps, which require less power to operate and have extra-long life.

"Replacing blown conventional tail-lamp bulbs has traditionally been a high frequency item on towing tractors," Mr Walmsley said.

Toyota's 2TE electric towing tractor is offered with 1.5 or 1.8 tonne payload - both with 80 Volt/445 Amp-hour battery or optional high capacity 600 Amp hour battery.

The 1.8-tonne model has a 16.6kW motor and 25,000kg maximum towed weight.

The 2TE-15 has an 11.8kW motor and 20,000kg towed weight.

Both models are 3615mm long, with a tight turning radius (outside) of just 3295mm.

TMHA's test/demonstration machine has been fitted with a driver's suspension seat, a battery charger interface box and rear-mounted inching controls.

The battery charger interface has a lock-out system so the tractor cannot be inadvertently driven while it is connected to the charger.

The inching control provides a variable time pulse so the operator can align the machine with the haulage pin - allowing for one-person operation when attaching the trailers.

A rapid opportunity charger is used to replenish the 80V battery.

For further information on the Toyota Material Handling range, freecall 1800 425 438, or visit the website at


Notes to Editors:

Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO) is the global leader in materials handling according to two of the world's foremost material handling publications - Logistik Journal and DNF. TICO has been the global leader since 2001 and topped 2008 ranking in Logistik based on results for the financial year ended March 31, 2008. TICO's annual turnover was reported as more than 4.8 billion Euro (close to $AUD 9.6 billion) for its global materials handling operations. DNF reported TICO was the leader in world-wide market share in 2007/08, with 20.17 per cent. In addition, TICO was the number 31 in Fortune Magazine's 2008 list of the world's 50 most admired companies and number 479 in the 2008 Fortune Global 500 list for the world's largest corporations.

Australian Operations
Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) is the Australian subsidiary of TICO. It distributes the TICO leading material handling brands of Toyota Industrial Equipment, BT Lift Trucks and Raymond Forklifts, along with the its range of Huski skid steer loaders. TMHA provides world-leading materials handling products and services to customers across Australia.

Within Australia, almost 50,000 Toyota Industrial Equipment forklifts have been sold, and the brand has been the Australian counter-balance forklift market leader since 1987. Toyota's selection of internal-combustion and battery electric counter-balance forklifts range from 0.9 tonnes right up to a massive 24.0 tonnes.

BT is the world's largest producer of Warehouse Trucks. It has been one of the world's leading warehouse forklift brands for over 50 years, with a range of products committed to increasing productivity and reducing materials handling costs.

The Raymond Corporation is the leading North American provider of Warehouse materials handling solutions that improve space utilisation and productivity, with lower cost of operation and greater ease of use.

Toyota Material Handling Australia's brand manager, Toyota product, Bob Walmsley, with the new Toyota 2TE18 electric towing tractor.