While electric forklifts have been used for years in warehouses and factories, this is a first for UK construction sites, where usage is more heavy duty.
Flannery bought the Faresin 6.26 full electric telehandler from GGR Group, which became the UK dealer for Italian manufacturer Faresin earlier this year. GGR sells it as the Eco Telehandler.
The machine has already been used on the HS2 site in West Ruislip by main works civils contractor Skanska Costain Strabag Joint Venture.
Flannery Plant Hire operations director Niall Hester said: “Following the demonstration of the Eco Telehandler at GGR’s Haddenham Depot, we worked closely with GGR to find a suitable test site. The HS2 project seemed the natural option for this machine as the project focuses heavily on environmentally friendly innovation and reducing carbon emissions of assets.”
He added: “The electric telehandler has been very well received on site and has helped set up a concrete compound. The teams were able to get full 10 hour shifts with the machine without needing a re-charge. The machine was then left to charge overnight ready for the next shift. A fast charger was supplied to the customer which would have charged the machine in just under two hours, however it was not needed in the end”.
James Richardson, managing director of the contracting JV, said: “We were pleased to be the first construction site in the UK to trial the Eco Telehandler with Flannery and will be looking at opportunities to bring them on site to reduce carbon and deliver the project more efficiently”.
The Faresin 6.26 has a lifting capacity of 2.6 tonnes and maximum lifting height of 5.9 metres. It is the smallest machine in Faresin's range of telehandlers and is the only one that is powered by a lithium battery, rather than diesel.
The standard 300Ah battery has a battery life of up to six hours (depending on use) and a recharge time of three hours 45 minutes using the standard external three-phase charger. This can be reduced to 90 minutes with an optional external fast charger.
GGR Group chief executive Graeme Riley said: “We are pleased to have worked with Flannery Plant Hire on this sale and are thrilled that it will now be used on one of the UK’s biggest infrastructure projects. In a growing environmentally conscious world, the Electric Telehandler really is a great eco-friendly alternative to the standard petrol/diesel powered machines, and we are already in talks with several other plant hire firms to get this exclusive product rolled out across the UK”.
HS2 Ltd is also keen to have electric machinery working on its sites. Air quality lead Andrea Davidson said: “HS2 is leading the way with green technology in order to reduce our carbon footprint across the whole project, supporting the UK’s green economic recovery and making a major contribution to the country’s 2050 net zero carbon emissions target. Putting the environment at the heart of everything we do at HS2, the project is well placed to encourage innovations and set new standards in the industry to help improve air quality on construction sites. We’ve set ambitious targets for our supply chain to minimise whole life carbon emissions, and Flannery have gone above and beyond these, providing an industry-first in the materials handling equipment sector.”