The trucks that Chinese manufacturer BYD designs for the demanding European market are more highly developed than rival machines made for the Asian customers. For example, these Chinese trucks with a ‘European character’ – like the IFOY nominee BYD ECB 18C – are all equipped with twin drive motors for additional manoeuvrability, and maintenance-free wet brakes instead of drum brakes. The basic version is fitted with a mechanical lever, while the comfort version comes with electrohydraulic levers and a deluxe Grammer seat.
The truck is fitted with a bright, modern colour display made in-house by BYD, which makes selected settings and the battery discharge level easily visible. The armrest can be adjusted to suit the sitting position of the driver. Practical mini-levers make mast operation extremely convenient while offering excellent precision of mast positioning. The duplex mast in the IFOY test provides a good view of the fork tips, and all-round visibility is also good. There is a mast cushioning feature at floor level. The forklift is remarkably compact yet is in no way restrictive for the driver. Legroom and foot space are generous, and the overall finish of the BYD is far superior to that of its Chinese competitors.
The software settings of the truck are also adapted to European standards, ensuring extremely responsive handling. The driver can choose from three operating modes on the display menu: H (High), M (Medium) and L (Low). In ‘High’, the forklift shows strong acceleration, and the 80V battery gives ample power to the compact vehicle. Steering is predictable but could be slightly smoother on empty runs. The power and adjustment of the curve control system have been greatly improved compared to the first edition of the BYD truck. In addition, handling and operation of the forklift are predictable and easy. According to the test team, the BYD handles best of all in the ‘Medium’ setting.
Despite its powerful performance, energy consumption of the BYD is below the test average. Thanks to the different drive modes, the driver can also influence energy consumption and therefore save additional energy. The battery can be re-charged rapidly, as often as desired and without memory effect, which means even three-shift duty is possible with the same battery. Fully electric steering or automatic steering pump shutoff in stationary operating mode could generate further potential for cost efficiency.
The test measurements show that the BYD runs for almost five hours in the most heavy-duty mode, easily bridging the gap to the next break when the battery can be almost completely recharged. In the ‘M’ mode, the truck keeps going for just under six hours. Click here for a comprehensive test report on the BYD ECB18C.
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