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Could Bobcat Forklift Pave The Way For Hydrogen Skid Loader?

Home Could Bobcat Forklift Pave The Way For Hydrogen Skid Loader?

Could Bobcat Forklift Pave The Way For Hydrogen Skid Loader?

Bobcat as a company have been exceptionally busy in the tail end of 2023 and the start of 2024 attempting to revolutionise every aspect of the business that their versatile skid-steer transformed since 1957, five years before the Bobcat name was even used.

Whilst the autonomous, cabless RogueX2 has stolen the show at trade shows for just how fundamentally different Bobcat’s vision of the future is, another, seemingly unrelated press release could have major implications for the company and the industry at large.

On 31st January 2024, Bobcat’s parent company Doosan Group announced the rollout of the B35X-7P, a machine that they claim is the first commercialised forklift with a hydrogen fuel cell.

Whilst forklifts and bobcat vehicles are both versatile and easy to handle, this may seem at first glance to be a relatively irrelevant launch outside of the shared corporate lineage, but the implications of this rollout, should it be effective, could have great implications throughout the industry.

The initial goal is to supply at least 30 hydrogen forklifts, which feature a 10kW fuel cell and a 3-ton lifting capacity, but if that turns out to be successful, diversification is inevitable, and not just in terms of their forklift market.

One key aspect of the RogueX2 project and Bobcat’s research and development aims, in general, is a move away from petrol and diesel engines towards a more environmentally sound alternative.

Currently, this takes the form of an electric battery, which whilst an effective approach, requires either long charging times or the use of high-power charging stations.

By contrast, a hydrogen fuel cell can be refuelled in the same way as any other vehicle, allowing for the vehicle to be used for longer periods and avoiding the issues of diminishing charges as the battery gets older.

The press release notes that once they have diversified in the realm of forklifts, they will go further and look into applying the hydrogen fuel cell to the flagship Bobcat skid-steers themselves.