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The Volvo Construction Equipment L25 Electric compact wheel loader and ECR25 Electric compact excavator at work in the California desert during the pilot project. | Photo source Volvo

Volvo successfully tests electric construction vehicles

Volvo has completed year-long tests of its new compact, electric construction vehicles on California work sites

Spotted: The drive towards electric vehicles continues with Volvo’s new battery-powered construction equipment. The company has just announced successful tests of a battery-powered electric compact excavator and an electric compact wheel loader. Both machines have been designed to have zero-emissions yet deliver the same standards as diesel-powered construction vehicles. 

Over the course of a year, the machines were tested on a number of construction sites in Southern California. They are powered by lithium-ion batteries, leading to an estimated reduction of 6 metric tons of CO2 emissions each over the course of the year, as well as savings on fuel costs. For those living near construction sites, the e-equipment also led to significantly lower noise levels. This also made it easier for workers on the construction sites to hear each other better – making them safer. 

Along with the benefits, the electric machines performed as well as their diesel counterparts, and required less maintenance. While the worksites did need to make sure there were sufficient charging points on site, Volvo also pointed out that at least company working in a desert area, had installed a solar array to provide charging. 

Volvo has said that it is committed to sustainability in all areas of its business – commercial as well as consumer. According to Melker Jernberg, President of Volvo CE, “The California pilot project supports what we’ve seen on jobsites in Europe and elsewhere: our battery-electric compact excavator and compact wheel loader are viable alternatives to diesel equipment for construction fleets that want to reduce their carbon footprints.” 

At Springwise, we have covered all manner of electric vehicle – from tundra buggies to tricycles and school buses that can double as a power source. However, this is the first electric construction equipment that we have seen. It holds out the hope that soon most of the backhoes, excavators, dozers, graders, and other heavy equipment used on construction sites will shift away from diesel engines to all-electric. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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