Great Scott! It’s been three years to the day since 21st October 2015, dubbed Back to the Future Day. It was the day Marty McFly and Doc Brown travelled to in Back to the Future 2 in 1989. Three years on and there’s still no sign of flying cars, but there are plenty of new emissions regulations to hinder new inventions.

The forklift industry is now subject to more stringent regulations than ever before. Now, manufacturers are challenged with meeting new compliance in a cost-effective way.

Some manufacturers add filters or converters to ensure they meet the latest regulations. These result in more costs for the customer and the service provider alike. Others have chosen the route of reducing the engine power output through software. But, offering less power at the same price is hardly an elegant solution.

So how do we ensure that this ever-increasing need for clean engines is countered in the future? We could start by designing forklifts the Delorean way!

We need to go back. Waaaaaay back!

In 1975, John Delorean started DMC, the Delorean Motor Company. By 1981 the first DMC-12 sports car rolled off the production line. Under-powered and unable to live up to its sporty promise, the car suffered an ill fate. Government incentives to manufacture the car in Northern Ireland made it particularly newsworthy. Its founder facing drug trafficking charges did too! The business declared bankruptcy in 1982.

Right before the first Delorean was built, British mechanic Stephen Wynne established his own car business in Texas. Having repaired a few Deloreans, he founded a new DMC company in 1995. Wynne acquired the remaining parts inventory and the rights to the DMC logo. The plan was to supply spare parts to existing owners of the stainless steel sports car. He later realised he might be able to assemble whole new cars from the parts stock.

In January 2016, the company announced they were building 300 “new” Deloreans. While the new cars looked and drove the same as the originals built 35 years ago, they will not be totally original. Due to the emissions regulations they must have a new power unit (cough, flux capacitor). The car needed an emissions-friendly engine like all current cars. In truth, there wasn’t much to praise about the original Peugeot-Renault-Volvo (PRV) 2.85 litre V6. One thing it did have in its favour, however, was its date of birth.

Cars are only ever measured against the emissions standards from the time of manufacture. If you can build a car, or for that matter a forklift, that stands the test of time, it will only have to conform to the emission standards of today, not the future. And the future is already partly known, at least as far as emissions are concerned.

Momentum continues to gather across the UK to strengthen engine emissions regulations. The current directive was first adopted in 1997 and then amended 8 times. There are 15 annexes and 28 national laws which help to enforce it. The effect on engine costs and availability has been significant.

In 2019, Britain will exit the EU, escaping the threat of fines from non-compliance. Yet, we have an increased awareness of the broad range of adverse health effects resulting from air pollution. This could make any watering down of targets politically sensitive.

Still, if we make our cars and forklifts tough, sturdy and desirable today, they will only ever have to conform to today’s standards and not to those in the future.

So, is the answer to today’s emissions conundrum one of building a forklift the Delorean way? Timeless in design and so unique that we will want to continue operating it for the next 35 years? Or do we focus on designing the best trucks for the future? Reliable, clean running and environmentally-friendly?

At Jofson, we think the answer is both. Fortunately, Mitsubishi forklift trucks offer all of the above benefits, plus more. Choosing Mitsubishi means selecting the best equipment for today and tomorrow.