US battery maker Proterra and multinational Komatsu partnered in January 2021 to develop electric mid-sized hydraulic excavators, and today they announced that Komatsu’s first 20-ton class lithium-ion battery electric machine is ready for debut.
Komatsu will officially launch the electric excavator next week at bauma2022, a construction equipment trade fair in Munich. It will be introduced to Japanese and European markets in 2023.
Mid-size hydraulic excavators are versatile machines that are mainly used for earth excavation and loading operations.
Komatsu’s new electric 20-ton machine features a power output of 123 kw and 451 kWh of battery capacity.
(Contrast that with Caterpillar announcing in January 2019 that it was building the “world’s largest” excavator: a 26-ton machine with a 300 kWh battery pack.)
The new electric excavator’s Proterra battery system, when fully charged, enabled operation of five to nine hours in the proof-of-concept tests conducted on advance research machines at customers’ construction sites. Komatsu’s components on the machine include the hydraulic pump, controller, and electric motor for work equipment operation.
The added advantage of electrifying construction equipment is that it can be used for work in urban areas and during nighttime construction work without creating noise pollution or emissions. Komatsu also notes that “the zero engine vibration will also help reduce operator fatigue.”
In addition to making batteries, Burlingame, California-based Proterra also manufactures electric buses and drive trains and chargers for heavy-duty commercial vehicles.
Proterra is going to get some competition from Tesla, which announced on October 6 that its Tesla Semi has gone into production and that Pepsi is going to get the first electric trucks starting December 1.
The Motley Fool reported on October 14 that “Proterra shipped battery systems for 348 vehicles in the third quarter, a jump of more than 1,000% compared to the year-ago quarter.”
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