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Volvo’s Electric Excavator And Loader Make Great Diesel Alternatives

Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) has announced the results of a pilot project in Southern California with the ECR25 Electric compact excavator and L25 Electric compact wheel loader.

For nearly a year, Volvo CE has been testing these battery-powered machines with multiple customers on job sites. The goal was to demonstrate they’re viable alternatives to diesel equipment for fleets to reduce carbon footprints and accelerate the deployment of zero-emission solutions in this segment.

The results are encouraging and come just as Volvo CE is getting ready for a full North American roll-out of the ECR25 Electric (January 2022) and L25 Electric (early 2022). Conclusions from the pilot project confirmed that Volvo electric construction equipment matches the performance and has significant benefits when compared to diesel machines in the same compact size range.

For example, when it comes to sustainability, the ECR25 and L25 compact electric machines proved themselves as sound options, thanks to their lithium-ion batteries and zero emissions. Additionally, since they emit nothing, they can operate inside buildings and other structures where diesel exhaust is restricted.

Based on the combined 400 operating hours during the pilot, there was a reduction of 6 metric tons of CO2 emissions and an approximate savings of 560 gallons of fuel with an estimated cost of $2,400 over diesel machines.

These electric machines also produce significantly lower noise levels (about 90%) than diesel equipment. They reduce noise pollution and improve job site communication and safety by making it easier for crew members to hear each other. Plus, they can work in sound-sensitive areas.

From a performance standpoint, the ECR25 and L25 have similar specifications to their diesel equivalents, and the pilot project confirmed that. Participants also offered positive feedback on the decreased maintenance needs of the electric machines (no need for engine oil, oil filters, diesel particulate filters, or diesel exhaust fluid tank). 

Performance was matched in several key areas, including digging depth and breakout force on the excavator and tipping load and dump height on the wheel loader.

Finally, when it comes to charging, the higher current available on the U.S. power grid compared with Europe was found to be a benefit to charging. The project “confirmed the importance of having access to quality charging connections” and offered Volvo CE the opportunity to adapt the machines to make them compatible with the North American power grid.

Customers used various sources such as 240-volt AC grid power, fast charging, mobile power sources and solar power.

Funding for the project came from an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant administered by the South Coast AQMD. The customers that used the electric machines during the trial are Caltrans, Casper Company, Baltic Sands, and Waste Management.

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