Doosan Bobcat launched its new, all-electric Bobcat T7X compact track loader at CES this week, calling it the first fully electric machine of this kind to reach the market. Even better news for Bobcat fans: they’ve already sold a whole bunch of ’em.
But wait, there are already electric loaders on the market, aren’t there? What makes this Bobcat a “world’s first”? Read on.
What makes the new electric Bobcat T7X an all-electric trackloader where other electric track loaders are just “electric” is the fact that the Bobcat is the first machine of its kind to fully eliminate all the hydraulic systems usually associated with the movement of arms and bucket.
It might be a little hard to picture, but in a conventional tractor, the hydraulic fluid — a real nasty, super viscous (thick) oil — is pumped into (or out of) a cylinder, which pushes on a piston that raises (or lowers) the bucket. In the new T7X, that traditional hydraulic system has been completely replaced with an electrical drive system consisting of electric cylinders and electric drive motors. That means the Bobcat doesn’t just use electricity to move around and drive its tracks. It’s really, truly, all-electric.
And — bonus! — that switch to electricity means there are virtually no petroleum products being used by the new Bobcat. The all-electric T7X uses just one quart of something Doosan Bobcat is calling “eco-friendly coolant,” compared to more than 50 gallons of hydraulic fluid used in an equivalent diesel/hydraulic or electric/hydraulic model. An added benefit of ditching the fluid? The machine operator no longer has to wait for the standard hydraulic system to “warm up” to be able to use it.
That’s a huge step away from petroleum, and a big win for both electrification and job site efficiency — but Bobcat had another win to celebrate at CES: sales.
South Carolina-based Sunbelt Rentals, one of America’s largest equipment rental companies in North America with more than 1,025 locations, has committed to “a significant investment in a large fleet of Bobcat T7X all-electric compact track loaders and electric compact excavators,” which will be co-branded as Sunbelt loaders.
“By making an investment in this first-of-its-kind, all-electric technology, we support our ESG (environmental, social, and governance) objectives of empowering our customers and communities with the availability of alternative rental solutions that reduce emissions and noise,” said Brendan Horgan, CEO of Sunbelt Rentals. “Sunbelt Rentals is leading the implementation of electrified on-road and off-road products to unlock the ESG structural benefits of rental.”
Diesel noise on a job site is bad news. It directly leads to permanent disability from hearing loss and indirectly leads to other potentially lethal workplace accidents because you can’t always hear, “Look out!” over the thrum of the engines — and that’s just the sound! The carbon emissions from these job sites are much less regulated than automotive emissions, and they pump harmful chemicals into the air, often in areas of heavy pedestrian traffic.
Switch to electric, though, and all that trouble goes away. The company saves money, the insurance companies save money, the state saves money, and the construction workers save money on hearing aids and inhalers. What’s not to love!?
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