There are some who believe that the Holy Grail of fuel-saving technology could potentially be diesel-electric hybrids, and the idea certainly isn't without merit. After all, diesel engines are inherently more efficient than their gasoline-swilling siblings, so there's the potential for even higher fuel economy than with traditional gas-electric hybrids like the Toyota Prius hatchback. Further, diesel-electric locomotives have proven the technology viable for certain applications.

For this reason, we were keenly interested when we heard that Toyota had developed the World's First Diesel-Electric Hybrid. Except, well, it's not a car at all, it's a forklift. No matter, it's cool. Powered by a 2.5-liter diesel engine mated up with a 26 kW electric motor and nickel metal hydride battery pack, the Geneo-Hybrid forklift is capable of lifting 3.5 tons and reportedly uses 50-percent less fuel with an equal reduction in carbon emissions.

Toyota plans to begin trials of the Geneo-Hybrid forklift October 12, though only for its home market of Japan.

[Source: Carscoop, Nikkei]


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