Manitou Reveals its First Hydrogen Telehandler Prototype

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Manitou hydrogen telehandler prototype with fork attachment
Manitou reveals its first prototype hydrogen fuel-cell telehandler.
Manitou Group

Manitou has unveiled its first hydrogen fuel-cell telehandler with plans to bring a 100% hydrogen telehandler to market in 2026.

The hydrogen program is part of the French-based manufacturer’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its machines by 34% per hour by 2030.  

The hydrogen telehandler is based on a diesel model with a lift height of 46 feet. The company did not provide further details on the machine’s specifications.

The prototype follows Manitou’s unveiling of electric telehandlers and all-terrain work platforms at the Bauma show in Germany in October. The company says it views hydrogen as a “medium-term alternative” for its customers.

front side view of Manitou hydrogen telehandler prototype with fork attachmentManitou plans to launch a 100% hydrogen model in 2026.Manitou GroupManitou has opened a green hydrogen station where it will test its hydrogen prototype along with other hydrogen technology. The company is not only focusing on hydrogen fuel cells but also hydrogen combustion engines. It says it will use the solution that works best for customers.

It plans to test its hydrogen machines alongside electric ones to gauge their ranges. In testing its new prototype, Manitou plans to focus on “guaranteeing range and reliability in real-life conditions, while testing the durability of components.”

The hydrogen telehandler will be sent out to construction sites for testing by the end of 2023 to gather feedback, the company says. A hydrogen rotating telehandler model is also being developed and expected to be unveiled soon.

“We are studying all the hydrogen-related technologies based on what users need,” says Michel Denis, managing director of the Manitou Group. “This prototype is only the first step. A second rotating telehandler prototype will be developed in the coming months.”

Manitou is also studying low-carbon means of manufacturing its hydrogen machines.

“There are many benefits of green hydrogen, with production possible using wind power that has no greenhouse gas emissions at all,” Denis says. “This fits in perfectly with our low-carbon trajectory.”

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Another goal is to not sacrifice performance with the new technologies. Manitou launched its hydrogen program in 2021 with 50 engineers and technicians, with the goal of achieving “an innovative solution that can be fully industrialized.”

It also hopes to gain support from the public sector for developing a hydrogen distribution and fueling network.

“The green hydrogen sector is gradually becoming more established with the entry onto this market of a number of players,” says Julien Waechter, vice president of R&D for Manitou Group. “All of the aid mechanisms proposed by the different governments will encourage the transition to hydrogen and will speed up the development of the distribution network and ultimately the reduction in the usage costs of our machines using this energy." 

side view Manitou hydrogen telehandler prototype with headlights shining on Manitou Group trailerThe hydrogen prototype will go to construction sites at the end of 2023 for field testing.Manitou Group