Volvo CE sets date for electrification of compact wheel loaders and excavators

Volvo Construction Equipment has announced that, by mid-2020, it will start to launch an electric range of compact wheel loaders and compact excavators.

In what the company calls “a pioneering commitment to future technology”, Volvo CE says it will stop new diesel engine-based development of its EC15- EC27 range of compact excavators and L20-L28 range of wheel loaders by this date and move forward with its new electric range.

“With this move, Volvo CE is the first construction equipment manufacturer to commit to an electric future for its compact machine range,” the company says. “This follows an overwhelmingly favourable reaction from the market after the successful unveiling of a number of concept machines in recent years, and by working closely with customers.

“This move is aligned with the Volvo Group’s strategic focus on electromobility in all business areas.”

Volvo CE, last year, carried out a trial of prototype electric machinery during the Electric Site project (pictured) at Skanska’s Vikan Kross quarry near Gothenburg, Sweden. This included the use of much larger prototype electric-hybrid wheel loaders and dual-powered, cable-connected excavators.

The first 10 weeks of the trial saw a 98% reduction in carbon emissions, a 70% reduction in energy cost and a 40% reduction in operator cost.

The first of the company’s new electric machines will be unveiled at the Bauma exhibition in April, followed by a staged market-by-market introduction and ramp up in 2020, the company said.

“While the company stresses that diesel combustion currently remains the most appropriate power source for its larger machines, electric propulsion and battery technology is proving particularly suited to Volvo’s smaller equipment,” Volvo CE said. “With research and development investment now focused on the rapid development of its electric compact wheel loaders and excavators, Volvo CE is taking a step towards diesel-free compact equipment in the future.”

Volvo CE President, Melker Jernberg, said: “Volvo CE is delivering on its commitment of ‘Building Tomorrow’ by driving leadership in electromobility and delivering sustainable solutions that support customer success. The technology we have been developing is now sufficiently robust and this, together with changes in customer behaviour and a heightened regulatory environment, means that now is the right time to commit to electromobility in our compact equipment ranges in the future.”