Volvo Launches U.S. Market’s Largest Electric Crawler Excavator, the EC230

Volvo upped the ante recently in the drive toward electric construction equipment with the launch of the largest battery-powered crawler excavator for the North American market.

The 23-metric-ton EC230 stands out in an ever-growing sea of compact battery-powered excavators now for sale. Volvo announced its availability to the market May 21 at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Las Vegas.

During the show, Volvo also unveiled its PU750 mobile charger, which it says can charge three to four EC230s or similar midsize machines on a jobsite before it needs to be recharged.

And for its 48-volt compact excavators, loaders and new compactor already on the market, Volvo unveiled the PU130 mobile charger, which boasts charging times of less than an hour.

EC230 Electric Excavator

Volvo EC230 electric Excavator show floor Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Las VegasThe EC230 Electric is now commercially available in North America, Volvo CE announced at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo, the same place a year ago it announced the excavator was undergoing testing in the U.S.Equipment WorldVolvo says the electric EC230 delivers the same power as its diesel counterpart, the EC220E, but with a 60% to 70% reduction in energy costs, no emissions, reduced noise and vibration.

Other benefits of the electric EC230 over diesel models include instant torque, faster cycle times and less maintenance, the company says. It can also work indoors and in emissions- and noise-sensitive areas.

The excavator can run 4 to 5 hours on a single charge. Volvo says it can be charged during lunch on a DC fast charger to get another 4 to 5 hours of operation. It can then be charged overnight for the next day.

The electric EC230 has undergone testing with contractors in the U.S. and other countries. During the ACT Expo, Volvo revealed the results of U.S. tests:

  • Skanska trial in Los Angeles – During the 90-day pilot, contractor Skanska used the EC230 to remove dirt from a tunnel for the future Purple Line rail system and load trucks. Hourly operating costs were reduced 74% and hourly carbon-dioxide emissions by 66%.
  • Sunbelt Rentals trial in California – During the 800-hour trial, the EC230 showed an 80% carbon-reduction rate and 83% cost savings in comparison to its diesel equivalent.
  • Coastal Waste and Recycling trial in Florida – Crews used the EC230 for 4 to 4.5 hours each morning, charged it at lunch and completed a full 8-hour day of work with it, moving about 100 tons an hour of demolition waste and biomass. The company said it performed as well as its diesel equivalent and liked it so much it bought the demo excavator from Volvo.

“I think that proves that the machines can not only perform, that the customers actually in certain applications prefer the machines, because they’re quieter, less vibration,” Ray Gallant, Volvo CE vice president of sustainability, said at ACT Expo. “They have all the power he wants, the productivity he wants. And … because of noise levels, they are a much safer machine on their site.”

Gallant noted that electric equipment has a much higher upfront cost; however, over time, those costs can be recouped due to fuel and maintenance savings.

“We all know that the initial cost of these machines is higher,” he said. “But when you start having an offset of 70% of your operating costs per hour, you can make up a lot of that initial cost very, very quickly.”

To watch the EC230 in action, check out the Volvo video below:

Big Mobile Charger

Gallant noted that one of the main challenges for electric equipment is to have a ready supply of power. That’s especially difficult on remote, off-the-grid jobsites.

On top of that, to have a 600-volt battery system to charge versus the typical 48-volt compact machine, the challenge becomes even greater.

To that end, Volvo simultaneously unveiled its PU750 mobile charger along with the EC230. A market launch date for the charger has not yet been set.

Developed in conjunction with Volvo CE, Volvo Penta and partner Utility Innovation Group, the PU750 can charge three to four midsize machines, like the EC230, without having to be recharged itself.

The mobile charger contains Volvo Penta’s 792-kilowatt-hour batteries for charging equipment. It also integrates solar panels to provide energy for controls and auxiliary systems and has a rugged design to stand up to construction sites, Volvo CE says.

Volvo says it does not need a converter for charging.

volvo's PU750 mobile charger at Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Las VegasVolvo’s PU750 charger at the ACT ExpoEquipment World

Small Mobile Charger

Though Volvo CE’s star of the show was the EC230, the company continues to innovate for its compact equipment lineup, which now totals six models.

The new 130-kilowatt-hour PU130 mobile charger can charge 48-volt equipment – such as Volvo’s three mini excavators, two compact wheel loaders and new tandem-drum asphalt compactor – in less than an hour, Volvo says.

Along with charging equipment, the PU130 can deliver 40 kilowatts of power to a jobsite. Volvo teamed up with Portable Electric to develop the Level 2 charger.

Volvo says the PU130 will be available at North American dealers later this year.

volvo pu130 mobile charger at volvo's PU750 mobile charger at Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Las VegasVolvo PU130 mobile chargerEquipment World

Quick Specs

Here are the specifications Volvo CE has released for its new EC230 electric excavator and PU750 and PU130 mobile chargers:

EC230 electric excavator

  • Operating weight: 50,000-57,000 lbs.
  • Bucket capacity: 1.77 cu. yds.
  • Breakout force: 33,500 lbf
  • Max dig depth: 22’
  • Run time: 4-5 hours
  • DC fast-charge time: approx. 1 hour
  • Battery capacity: 264 kWh
  • System voltage: 600V
  • Motor power continuously: 105 kW
  • Motor power peak: 160 kW

PU750 mobile charger

  • DC fast charging: 500 kW
  • Storage capacity: 793 kWh
  • AC recharging: 480 kW
  • AC voltage support: 400V-38kV
  • AC frequency: 50-60 Hz

PU130 mobile charger

  • AC output: 40 kW
  • Low-voltage DC fast charging: 20 kW
  • Storage capacity: 130 kWh