Following a pilot program in Southern California lasting nearly a year, Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) publicly showcased the capabilities and quietness of its battery electric construction equipment. The results of the pilot were announced live in Los Angeles today alongside a streaming event that featured a live demonstration of Volvo CE’s ECR25 Electric compact excavator.

Volvo CE is a subsidiary of Volvo Group that develops and manufactures equipment for construction and similar industries.

The origin of Volvo CE dates back to the 1830s in Sweden, where the company’s founders developed the first tractor for the Scandinavian country in 1913. Volvo Group purchased the entity in 1950, and has been manufacturing construction equipment since.

While the majority of the company’s previous offerings have been diesel powered, Volvo CE followed suit with its umbrella company in integrating battery electric options to support a zero-emissions future.

In 2019, Volvo CE announced it would no longer manufacture diesel engine-based compact wheel loaders, or compact excavators in favor of developing electric versions instead.

By the end of 2020, Volvo CE was already delivering electric construction equipment to customers in France, beginning with its ECR25 Electric compact excavator.

Most recently, Volvo CE shared what it has learned since, via a pilot program in North America ahead of a full rollout next year.

electric construction equipment
Volvo’s ECR25 Electric compact excavator / Source: Volvo CE

Volvo shows off electric construction equipment ahead of deliveries

In a press release coinciding with an in-person and livestream event in Los Angeles, Volvo CE has shared new knowledge gained from a nearly yearlong pilot program.

Volvo CE had been testing its battery-powered ECR25 Electric compact excavator and L25 Electric compact wheel loader with multiple customers around Southern California to help accelerate the deployment of electric construction equipment technologies.

According to Volvo CE, the pilot project was an informative success, and its all-electric solutions meet the high-performance standards of construction customers in a variety of applications, as proven through the recent testing scenarios. Stephen Roy, President of Region North America, Volvo CE elaborated:

Our customers’ response to these machines validates that there is not only a desire for these types of machines in North America but a pull in many markets. This just adds further momentum to the Volvo vision of offering machines that align with Science Based Targets and our overall commitment to decarbonization.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • Sustainability: The combined 400 operating hours of electric machine use saw a reduction of 6 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and an approximate savings of $2,400 on fuel compared to diesel machine use at the same amount of hours. Customers were also able to safely operate indoors on occasion.
  • Noise: Significantly lower noise levels compared to diesel equipment, reducing noise pollution and improving job site communication and safety. Exterior noise levels on the ECR25 lowered by 9 decibels (dBA).
  • Performance: Volvo electric construction equipment has similar specs to diesel equivalents. Pilot participants said the performance matched that of diesel machines, but with decreased maintenance.
  • Charging: The higher current available on the US power grid compared with Europe was found to beneficial to charging. Between the two machines, over 200 charge cycles were completed using 240-volt AC grid power, fast charging, mobile power sources and solar power.

Looking ahead, Volvo CE will apply these findings to research and development of future battery-electric construction equipment.

The company has emphasized a focus on enhancing machines run times, optimizing onboard charging systems, and exploring alternative charging methods for job sites without readily available charging access. Volvo CE is also working to manufacture additional electric construction machines.

Preorders for the ECR25 Electric compact excavator and L25 Electric compact wheel loader are now open for North America. Volvo plans to begin equipment deliveries in early 2022.

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