Editor’s Note: This is Part Two of an eight-part series on the evolution of construction equipment and the diesel fuel alternatives manufacturers are introducing, including hybrid machines, electric and battery-powered equipment, and hydrogen combustion and hydrogen fuel cell technology. You can read Part One in the series by clicking here.
Over the past few years, manufacturers have made several announcements of new electric or hybrid-electric machines. Most of the offerings fall within the compact equipment category, although many hybrid machines have extended into larger sizes.
For the fully electric models, only a handful of cases have announcements been followed up by news of full production and availability.
The onset of electrification has opened the door for numerous collaborations as well. Green Machine Equipment and Moog have both worked with several OEMs on the development of electrification on their respective machines.
Depending on the application, much of the battery-powered equipment provides enough power to work through a full 8-hour day on one charge.
Here’s a look at some of the machines construction equipment manufacturers have announced or are produced to date.
The 580 EV is powered by a 480-volt, 90 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. This battery pack separately powers the drivetrain and hydraulic motors of the machine, the key to achieving equal breakout forces to those found on diesel-powered machines.
And when the 580 EV is in the simultaneous operation of the loader and drivetrain, the battery pack delivers better performance than its diesel counterpart, Case says.
Earlier this year, Case teased the launch of its second foray into electrification, the CX15 EV a 2,900-pound compact excavator, due to hit the North American market in 2023.
According to Case, the CX15 EV is powered by a 16-kilowatt-hour electric motor. The electric motor is powered by a 21.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery that’s charged either by the 110/220-volt onboard charger or by an external rapid charger that can have the machine charged within 90 minutes.
Four new Caterpillar prototype battery electric machines were on display at Bauma 2022.
Models include the 320 medium electric excavators, the 950 GC medium electric wheel loader, the 301.9 electric compact excavators, and the 906 electric compact wheel loader. The 320 Electric excavators will be powered by a Cat 600-volt, 256 kWh battery with a runtime of up to eight hours on a single charge.
Capable of running up to eight hours on a single charge, or up to four to five hours of continuous trenching, the 301.9 Electric mini excavators will be powered by a Cat 48 volt, 32kWh battery. And the 906 electric compact wheel loader will be equipped with a Cat 300-volt, 64 kWh battery that enables the operator to work up to six hours on a single charge.
According to Cat, runtimes for battery-powered machines are based on average, moderate applications.
The 301.9 and 906 will be the first machines commercially available units in Europe and North America, with the 950 GC and 320 to follow in the coming years.
Doosan Bobcat first unveiled a concept of an electric mini excavator at Bauma in 2016, eventually releasing the 1-ton E10e for commercial sale three years later.
As of 2022, electricity continues to shoot through the company’s machine with the introduction of its third electric compact excavator, the 2-ton E19e.
The 2-ton model expands the company’s lineup of battery-powered excavators, which now include the E10e and the E32e, a 3.9-ton machine that was released earlier this year.
In addition, the trio of excavators is joined within Bobcat’s electric portfolio by the T7X, the world’s first all-electric compact track loader, which also was introduced at the start of 2022.
The T7X is fully battery powered, replacing the traditional hydraulic work group with an electrical drive system, and designed to outperform its diesel counterparts, Bobcat says. Sunbelt Rentals took the first delivery of the T7X machines in September.
Hyundai Doosan Infracore/Hyundai Construction Equipment
Hyundai Doosan Infracore unveiled a 1.7-ton mini electric excavator and a hybrid engine-equipped excavator at Bauma 2022. Both machines are scheduled for release in 2023.
The prototype system of the battery pack that powers the electric excavator was shown at ConExpo 2020.
The battery packs consist of battery modules and a battery management system and a cooling system joined in a frame. The battery management system uses standardized designs so the packs can be configured with up to 32 modules “regardless of series or parallel,” says the company. The battery cells are connected with a structural adhesive, and a wire bonding technology improves energy density and stability. Doosan says this development allows it to accelerate both its battery pack business and its electrified products.
In addition, Doosan showed off the new DX20ZE, the first mass-produced electric excavator manufactured by Doosan. It is a 2-tonne electric mini-excavator due for full launch in 2023,
Also, Hyundai Construction Equipment was showing off its 14-ton hydrogen excavator developed for the first time in Korea in 2020. It features a hydrogen fuel cell power pack and a 1.8-ton mini-electric excavator.
Chinese transmission and drivetrain manufacturer Greenland Technologies jumped into the electric construction equipment race with its line of all-electric, lithium-ion powered machines released under the moniker Hevi Equipment.
The launch served as a rebranding of the company’s Greenland Machinery division and includes the GEL-1800 and GEL-5000 electric wheel loaders and the GEX-8000 electric excavator. Hevi says it has ambitious plans to expand into other product lines.
Hamm rolled out the premier of its battery-powered compact rollers in October at the 2022 Bauma show in Germany.
The launch included eight fully electric tandem asphalt compactors for the company’s HD CompactLine series. Also, the company unveiled the world’s first electric roller with oscillation. The combination enables the roller to compact more quietly and with less vibration while emitting no pollutants.
Hamm says the new battery-powered rollers have the same operation and compaction performance as the coinciding diesel-powered models. In addition, the models’ lithium-ion batteries will also be able to run on a single charge “for an entire typical workday.”
The 23-kWh battery is designed to be maintenance-free and delivers 48 volts of onboard power. The company adds that energy released from the drive engine and vibration motors when braking is recuperated.
The 19C-1 E-Tec was the first of an electric range of machines for JCB.
Powered by four lithium-ion batteries, the machine goes from zero to full charge in 12 hours using a cable running from the machine to a standard 110-volt outlet. A full charge gives the machine three to four hours of operating time, or about a full day’s work for this size of an excavator.
The excavator is part of JCB’s E-Tech line which includes telehandlers, scissor aerial lifts, industrial forklifts, and portable power packs.
John Deere showed its prototype 310 X-Tier electric backhoe at the 2021 Utility Expo.
In addition, electric model developments have been mentioned as part of the company’s new compact excavator agreement with Wacker Neuson.
Also, company officials have indicated news on both the agricultural and construction equipment sides to be unveiled at CES 2023.
Komatsu demonstrated a zero-emission, battery-powered compact wheel loader concept at Bauma 2022.
In addition, it presented the first 20-ton class lithium-ion battery electric machine, the PC2210E.
The company said its electric PC210E 20-tonne excavators will be launched in Japan and Europe next year. It uses a 123-kW lithium-ion battery pack developed by Proterra and will operate for up to 8 hours on a single charge.
The wheel loader was developed in collaboration with Moog, a manufacturer of precision control systems. The companies say the integrated nature of the system enables increased efficiency and controllability. It also allows for over-the-air feature updates.
In response to climate change awareness, Komatsu has set a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. As part of that, the company is active in the development of electric construction equipment to achieve zero exhaust gas emissions.
Kovaco Electric/First Green Industries
Kovaco Electric, now known as First Green Industries, offers the Elise 900 skid steer and MiniZ 400 compact utility loader.
The Elise 900 is the first full-sized electric skid steer loader. It offers a standard attachment plate, 17.17 GPM hydraulic oil flow, a lift capacity of 2,646 pounds, and a run time of up to 8 hours (with a 400Ah battery). In addition, the MiniZ 400 is a utility loader that offers fully remote operation with a run time of up to 8-hours.
Manitou Group’s Bauma display showcased a record number of new products, including four new electric aerial work platforms, four new mid-height telehandlers, two electric rotating telehandlers, and a fixed electric telehandler.
Adding to its range of compact telehandlers, Manitou launched its first 100% electric model in the product category, the MT 625e. Powered by a 25- or 33-kWh lithium-ion battery, the MT 625e has a 2.5-ton lift capacity and reaches up to 19.7 feet high.
Manitou says the electric telehandler offers the same performance as its diesel counterpart with 56% less maintenance.
The MT 625e shares the same features as other models in Manitou’s compact telehandler range, including the Safety Pack that automatically warns the operator and those on the jobsite of unsafe operations and the intuitive Harmony display that provides real-time usage and maintenance information.
Sticking with the electric theme, the company rolled out its new Oxygen line of low emissions electric rough-terrain platforms. Models include the 160 ATJe, 160 ATJ+e, 180 ATJe, and 200 ATJe.
According to Manitou, they are the first manufacturer to have a range of 100% electric rough terrain platforms from 16 meters to 20 meters.
In addition, Gehl, a brand of Manitou Group has its mid-frame 69-horsepower R 165 skid loader. The loader runs on a 48-volt lithium-ion battery system and has a charge life of 8 hours, company officials say.
A full set of medium-sized electric equipment for the urban construction site was recently released by Mecalac.
The new equipment trio consists of the 11-ton e12 excavator, the 1.3-cubic-yard es1000 swing loader, and the 6-ton eD6 site dumper.
According to the company, the e12, an electric version of the 12MTX, can be charged in eight hours and lasts the same amount of time when in operation.
Sany has partnered with Danfoss to introduce an electric telescopic boom crawler crane, the SCE800TB-EV.
It is the first volume model of crawler crane available on the market with a fully electric system featuring permanent magnetic synchronous motor technology, the company says. (To see the crane in action, check out the video at the end of this story.)
Powered by a 282 Kwh liquid-cooled lithium iron phosphate battery capable of 8 hours of operation time, the 80-ton crane features a motor and inverter supplied by Danfoss Power Solutions’ Editron division and a Danfoss Power Solutions D1P hydraulic pump.
Sany says the introduction of the fully electric crane reflects the company’s commitment to sustainability and will help meet the increasing demand for zero-emission construction machines.
Tobroco-Giant introduced its first two electric wheel loaders at Bauma 2019.
The G2200E and G2200E X-TRA entered production at the end of 2019 and have proven to be a success. Designed for indoor operations or urban construction, the machines are equipped with a 48-volt lithium-ion battery that has a minimum capacity of 12.3 kilowatts.
The company offers four lithium-ion battery choices with varying charge lengths under normal conditions: 6.4-kilowatt hours for a 2-hour capacity; 12.3 kWh for 4 hours; 18.4 kWh for 6 hours; and 24.6 kWh for 8 hours.
During the next few years, the range of the company’s electrically driven models will be expanded so that in the future an electric variant will be available for every model.
The first machines available will be the G2700E and G2700E X-TRA. With an operating weight of 2,595 kg, both machines operate in a class above the G2200E (X-TRA) and are capable of handling heavier work.
The G2700E is equipped with a 260 Ah, 48V LPT battery, optional batteries with 390 Ah and 520 Ah are available. With two separate electric engines, 6,5 kW for the drive and 12 kW for work hydraulics, there is always enough power to carry out work accurately. Also, there is automatic recuperation every time the machine rolls out or drives down a mountain.
Takeuchi debuted its first electric compact machine at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2017, the e240 electric excavator. The machine was more of a Frankenstein of sorts, with electric components installed by Green Machine after the diesel engine was removed.
The e210R compact excavator was launched in 2019, again with the battery and drive components retrofitted by Green Machine. And in 2020, Takeuchi came back to ConExpo-Con/Agg with the TB220e, the company’s first fully electric compact excavator built to be battery-powered from the start.
This year, Takeuchi unveiled the TB20e UR electric excavator, which will be available at select United Rentals locations.
The company says it will be rolling out a full line of electric products to meet customer demands and sustainability goals.
Powered by lithium-ion battery technology, the Toro e-Dingo 500 compact utility loader was released in 2019. It was designed for tasks that require heavy and continuous operation indoors.
At the 2022 World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas, Toro unveiled the e-2500 electric Ultra Buggy, with the official release coming in November.
Powered by Toro’s HyperCell battery system, the Ultra Buggy builds on Toro’s success with its line of Material Buggies by offering operators a battery-powered, zero-emission solution that will open the door to new jobsites, particularly indoor applications.
Like its gas counterparts, the electric Ultra Buggy is designed to haul up to 16 cubic feet or 2,500 pounds of material in a 3/8-inch-thick polyurethane tub.
The company has pushed its HyperCell battery system across its entire lineup from mowers to utility loaders and is expected to continue in the future.
It was three years ago that Volvo Construction Equipment introduced its first battery-powered machines and announced the intention to phase out the diesel versions of its compact equipment with battery-powered equivalents going forward.
Volvo’s current lineup of electric equipment includes the L20 and L25 electric wheel loaders and the EC18, ECR18, and ECR25 electric excavators.
For the loaders, the company offers two battery pack choices: 33kWh or 40kWh. Users can expect up to six hours of active work per charge depending on the application
The first North American deliveries of the ECR25 Electric compact excavator and L25 Electric compact wheel loaders were made earlier in 2022. Three additional models were recently opened to reservations for delivery in 2023.
Volvo says the use of electric components reduces machine maintenance by 30%.
Wacker Neuson has been quietly developing its line of electric machines for nearly four years. The line already includes two-wheel loaders, an excavator, a dumper, and two rammers.
At Bauma 2022, the company unveiled the new TH412e electric telehandler, the RD28e electric roller, a Charging Box for mobile power supply, and the very compact DT05e dumper.
In addition, the third generation of the WL20e e-wheel loader was released. Other new machines include the 5065e electric wheel loader, the successor to the 5055e, and the 1445e E-telescopic handler, which both rely on the latest lithium-ion battery technology.
The XE35U-E XCMG excavator is a battery-powered mini excavator that has 70 kWh of system energy.
The operating weight for the mini excavator is about 9,500 pounds, and the 0.16-cubic-yard bucket has digging force of about 6.4 pounds.
The cab tilts forward for access to the main electrical device, main valve, slewing motor, and central rotary joint. Other service areas can be accessed through the fully opening rear hood.
In Part Three of our series, we’ll explore the pros and cons of diesel-electric hybrid machines.
Nearly a year before Bauma 2022, Yanmar gave the press a preview of its first electric mini excavator prototype, the SV17e.
The company positions this machine as an important strategic step in the transformation for Yanmar Compact Equipment and indicative of the direction of the company.
The SV17e mini excavator is aimed at customers in the European market and plays in the 1.5- to 2-metric-ton segment. It is powered by an electric drive with 48-volt batteries and fast charging capability.
The introduction of the electric excavator is part of Yanmar’s commitment to electrification and the intended introduction of a full range of electric compact equipment.