Kiloutou and Manitou trial electrification retrofits

By Euan Youdale03 February 2023

Manitou has signed an exclusive agreement with European rental company Kiloutou to investigate retrofit electrification kits for the manufacturer’s diesel powered telehandlers.

Kiloutou - Manitou retrofit From left: Michel Denis, President & CEO Manitou Group and François Renault, Group Fleet and Sustainability Director of Kiloutou Group

Manitou described it as the first heavy-equipment retrofit project involving a manufacturer and a rental company.

Kiloutou said the project could both lower its carbon emissions and extend the working life of machines.

The project, which will roll out over the next two years, will test the technical and economic feasibility of electrifying telehandlers that were produced with internal combustion engines.

The first phase is being carried out this year on a high lift height telehandler demonstrator in Kiloutou’s rental fleet.

The machine will be dismantled and reassembled with an electrification kit at Manitou’s plant in Ancenis, France, then tested in real-life conditions at Kiloutou’s test centre near Lille.

With tests completed, Manitou will be in a position to offer electrification kits for machines refurbished using new or pre-owned parts, exclusively to Kiloutou. The roll-out on additional machines will be undertaken for 12 months from the beginning of 2024.

Longer life
The kits comprise several components including a lithium-ion battery, and will open the door to switching from internal combustion engines to low-carbon full-electric motors. Most of the retrofitting work in this partnership will involve machines that Kiloutou has had in its rental fleet for about five years.

Kiloutou - Manitou retrofit

After conversion, the machines will be included in Kiloutou’s Impakt range of environmentally-friendly alternatives, available in France.

Michel Denis, President & CEO of Manitou Group, said, “We are currently rolling out our choice of low-emissions machines in our Oxygen range. We were also looking for an alternative to our internal-combustion machines that are already in operation, to take the next step in this direction.

“Kiloutou is particularly open to this kind of solutions, so we will be working together to create retrofit kits. The goal is to extend our products’ useful life and at the same time shrink our carbon footprint.”

The option addressed the need of speeding up the transition to lower-carbon machinery. Manitou added that by extending the useful life of equipment that is otherwise fully operational, retrofits combine sustainability and circularity.

François Renault, Group Fleet and Sustainability Director of Kiloutou Group, continued, “At Kiloutou, we firmly believe that decarbonizing the construction and civil engineering sector will take a team effort. This project with Manitou Group is that principle in practice and shows that we are committed to the same goals.

“The possibility of giving machines in our fleet a second life, and lowering their emissions, is a key lever in our drive to reduce our indirect emissions. We are working particularly hard these days to fast-track this circular-economy solution.

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