-Accelerating electrification of actual worksites to achieve carbon neutrality- Komatsu to launch Proof-of-Concept (PoC) tests for electric forklifts powered by sodium-ion batteries

Mar. 07, 2024


Komatsu Ltd. (President and CEO: Hiroyuki Ogawa) (hereinafter “Komatsu”), has developed and unveiled a concept machine for an electric forklift powered by sodium-ion batteries, ready to start PoC tests at customer worksites from March 2024. This marks Komatsu's inaugural venture into equipping machines with sodium-ion batteries and it is also a pioneering effort in the world to install them on forklifts. The forthcoming site trials aim to validate the optimal usage based on the new battery's performance and its unique characteristics, with an eye toward future commercial production.

【Concept machine for electric forklift with sodium-ion battery】


Komatsu has long been advancing product electrification based on needs of customers actual worksites, offering not only electric forklifts powered by standard battery but also models featuring maintenance-free lead-acid batteries*1 and those equipped with lithium-ion batteries for extended, heavy-load operations*2. Despite these advancements, electrification faces challenges, especially in worksites with shortened, light-load operations, where the high initial costs often lead to the selection of engine-driven forklifts due to high initial costs of electric models.

This newly equipped sodium-ion batteries, despite their lower energy density, support rapid charging, enabling continuous operation through frequent recharges. Their long cycle life (the number of times the battery can be repeatedly charged and discharged) also prolongs the interval before battery replacement becomes necessary, offering the potential to reduce running costs. Moreover, the use of sodium, which is abundant on earth, ensures stable supply and the prospect of cost reductions in the future, presenting significant advantages.

Based on these unique characteristics of sodium-ion batteries, Komatsu has developed this concept machine to provide an appropriate option for worksites with shortened, light-load operations. The concept machine is equipped with a sodium-ion battery pack developed by Shanghai Hirano Environment Technology Co., Ltd. (Headquartered in China, Chairman: Kunxiu Wu), using sodium-ion battery cells manufactured by Jiangsu Highstar Battery Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (Headquartered in China, General Manager: Chen Gang), and is designed for Komatsu's 1.5-ton class electric forklifts. Expanding the range of electric forklifts will accelerate the electrification of all types of worksites, aiding in the reduction of environmental impacts and the achievement of carbon neutrality.

DANTOTSU Value is defined as customer value creation that generates a positive cycle of improvement of earnings and ESG resolutions in Komatsu's mid-term management plan, entitled "DANTOTSU Value - Together, to "The Next" for sustainable growth". Through this DANTOTSU Value, Komatsu will strive to create new values in order to take steady steps forward to the next stage for the workplace of the future and pass on a sustainable future to the next generation.

*1 Refers to the models "FE15-1/FE18-1" and "FE25-2/FE30-2" equipped with maintenance-free lead-acid batteries. Available for sales in Japan.
*2 Refers to the "FE25G-2/FE30G-2" models equipped with lithium-ion batteries. Available for sales in Japan.



No : 0096(3319)
Corporate Communications Department
Sustainability Promotion Division
Komatsu Ltd.
tel: +81-(0)3-6849-9703
mail: JP00MB_cc_department@global.komatsu

*The information may be subject to change without notice.