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Hitachi showcases first Hybrid Wheel Loader

PARIS/FRANCE, May 8, 2015 – Hitachi showcased its first mass-produced Hybrid wheel loader at this year’s Intermat. The ZW220HYB-5 was designed and engineered in Hitachi’s plant in Ryugasaki (Japan). It will be introduced exclusively in the Japanese market for a start.

By Hendrik Stellmach and Lasse Lommel (translation)

Under the bonnet of the ZW220HYB-5, Hitachi has installed technology, which has proven its worth in previous applications like in the EH-series dumpers and the high speed train Shinkhansen. It was refined especially for use in the hybrid wheel loader. The four cylinder diesel engine of the ZW220HYB-5 drives a generator, which powers the electric drive motors at the axles of the wheel loader.

Hitachi ZW220HYB-5 hybrid wheel loader

Since 2007, no manufacturer dared to publicly display a hybrid wheel loader. Now Hitachi feels ready to do just this with the ZW220HYB-5 – at least on the Japanese market. | photo: bi-ConstructionNews

Diesel engine, generator, capacitor

When rolling and breaking, the machine produces electric energy which is then stored inside a capacitor. As the driver accelerates the wheel loader, the electric energy from the generator and the capacitor is used simultaneously. That’s why only a low engine speed is required once the machine reaches its driving speed. This in turn lowers the fuel consumption. According to Hitachi, the hybrid wheel loader is up to 26% more efficient compared to its standard brother, the ZW220. Besides, the noise levels inside the cabin and on the outside decrease by 5 dB and 2 dB respectively. “The customers desire a lot of power, low fuel consumption and little operating cost – this is the challenge for the future development of Hitachi wheel loaders”, says Vasilis Drougkas, who is the wheel loader specialist at Hitachi Construction Machinery Europe.

Hybrid technology brings more advantages than low fuel consumption

Because generator, drive motors and driving break require less maintenance, also the life cycle cost of the wheel loader decreases. The new, automated breaking system increases safety when driving downhill, because the wheel loader can drive at a constant speed. When lifting or loading, the engine speed is automatically adjusted to the load – the driver does not need to push the gas pedal.

Because the ZW220HYB-5 uses electric drive motors instead of a common gearbox, it works without jolt when digging or driving uphill. In addition, the driving and hydraulic systems work independent from each other, which adds to the supplied power. Before the market launch, Japanese Hitachi customers have tested the hybrid wheel loader thoroughly in stone pits and waste disposal plants. Based on their feedback, the Hitachi engineers did the final fine-tuning of the machine.