By now, most large equipment manufacturers have turned their focuses to developing alternative fuels to one degree or another, with Manitou being the latest to come forward with the announcement that it is working on a hydrogen-powered telehandler.

The French manufacturer has given itself the ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 34% per hour of use of its machines in 2030.

The brand stated that by 2030, it aims to have low emissions products account for 43% of the range.

Latest developments

Manitou has just recently shed light on its latest developments, announcing a hydrogen fuel cell-powered telehandler prototype, which is the result of three years of research and development.

The group recently presented its new facilities equipped with a green hydrogen station, which it believes will help make its hydrogen development plan a success.

With these new facilities, the Manitou group hopes to offer its customers a 100% hydrogen-powered telehandler available on the market by 2026.

Although having started out with fuel cell technology, Manitou hasn’t ruled out the possibility of developing a hydrogen combustion engine, stating that it will choose the hydrogen solutions that best meet the needs of its customers.


The prototype has been based on the MT1840 and has a maximum lift height of 18m and a maximum lift capacity of 4,000kg.

It is believed that electric motors power the drive and hydraulic system using the electricity generated by the hydrogen fuel cells.

Run time is said to be somewhere in the region of six hours on a single tank of hydrogen. Testing is expected to take place on construction sites by the end of 2023.

JCB plans

In 2019, UK-based competitor JCB announced the start of its hydrogen journey, with the fuel cell-powered X series excavator.

At a recent press event, JCB said it has parked fuel cell developments for now based on cost and focused on developing a hydrogen fuel combustion engine, which it feels more excited about and expects to enter production as soon as 2023.