The Environment Protection Agency has long been striving towards making construction equipment clean of all the emissions that are harmful to the environment. Almost 11% of the total emissions originate from heavy equipment used in the construction industry. EPA introduced Tier 4 regulations to restrict the emissions of Nitrogen Oxides and particulate matter from construction equipment run on diesel to near-zero. The agency is working on even stricter regulations and soon, we will see all-electric dozers, backhoes, excavators, and graders.
The idea of construction equipment going all-electric may seem undoable or impossible but if you look at the auto industry, you will understand the seriousness of the matter. The giants of the auto industry like Tesla, Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover, GM, and other manufacturers have developed all-electric models for their cars and most of their models are hybrid. Countries like India, Ireland, and Norway have already announced plans to ban the development and sale of gas and diesel vehicles by 2030.
When electric construction equipment makes it to the market, not only will it be environmentally friendly with zero emissions, but the operating noise, the total cost of ownership, and maintenance costs will also be greatly reduced. Until then, construction equipment manufacturers will roll out hybrid or even all-electric models, some of which are discussed below.
The Volvo CE Company reportedly vowed to stop the development of all loaders and excavators running on diesel by 2020. EX2 is the company’s first-ever all-electric excavator which was introduced back in 2017. Here are some of the benefits of this all-electric construction equipment.
- Reduced operating noise by 10x.
- Enhanced efficiency and performance by 10x.
- Utilization of electromechanical actuators instead of hydraulics.
- Reduced ownership costs.
This compact excavator utilizes two lithium-ion batteries. The run time of the batteries is 8 hours which will be enhanced in future models.
E10e is an electric prototype excavator developed by the Bobcat manufacturers in Dobris, Czech Republic. The company introduced this excavator to the world in 2016. The excavator is equipped with lithium-ion batteries that can power it and keep it running for 8 hour’s construction work after a full charge which takes only two and a half hours.
Based on the 19C-1 which is a diesel-powered excavator developed by JCB, the 19C-1 E-Tec is an electric variant that was first unveiled in 2018. This electric excavator can provide the same or better specifications than 19C-1. It features 3 lithium-ion batteries that can deliver 15kWh of power and weighs 2 tons. It generates instant torque and can run for a full day after a 6-hour charge with a normal charger or a 3-hour full charge with a super-fast charger.
Developed by Pon Equipment with the help and support from Caterpillar, the Electric CAT 323F is an excavator that weighs 28 tons and has a whopping 300 kWh output capability from its batteries. This excavator packs a ton of features and is one of the emerging equipment because they have already sold one of these to a construction company in Norway.
Wacker Neuson’s EZ17e also has lithium-ion batteries that can be charged when the excavator is operational. It can be charged through any outlet and will take a lot less to be fully charged if plugged into an outlet of high voltage. The excavator is just an addition to the company’s line of battery-powered equipment.
Hyundai Company has also developed a mini excavator successfully after partnering up with Cummins. This excavator utilizes the BM4.4E battery pack that can deliver 35.2 kWh of power that can run the excavator for 8 hours. After that time, you will have to recharge it for 3 hours.
All of the above construction equipment are mini or compact models but companies are working on building larger and much more efficient models with reduced charge time and maximized power with electric actuators.