Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) announced it plans to introduce three new electric powered compact machines. These will include the:
- L20 Electric compact wheel loader
- EC18 Electric compact excavator
- ECR18 Electric compact excavator
During a virtual launch event for the new machines, Melker Jernberg, President of Volvo CE, said the company will now have the broadest range of electric-powered equipment in the construction industry. Volvo CE will have a total of five electric machines available for the market — the previously launched ECR25 Electric compact excavator and L25 Electric wheel loader, and these three new machines.
“We are committed to building the world we want to live in,” he said. That means lowering carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and eliminating emissions, exhaust fumes and vibrations from equipment as it operates as well as reducing noise to create a more enjoyable operating experience for customers.
“These machines will deliver exactly that,” said Jernberg. “They will hopefully also deliver a lot of power into [customers’] business.”
Development of electric-powered equipment is part of efforts by Volvo CE and the Volvo Group as a whole to reduce emissions. In June 2021, the Volvo Group’s climate targets were approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). These include reaching net zero value chain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2040 and having at least 35% of its total range of vehicles be fully electric by 2030.
Features of the new electric wheel loader and excavators
Based on the larger L25 Electric, the new L20 Electric is a 4.5-ton wheel loader with a 1.8-ton payload and track width of 5.4 ft. Paolo Mannesi, Global Product Manager for Compact Wheel Loaders at Volvo CE, said during the launch event that the L20 offers the full benefits of electrification like its predecessor including local emissions-free operation and extensive noise reduction.
He added that these benefits open up new opportunities for jobsites in which the machines can be utilized—particularly those areas where noise and emissions are of most concern.
The L20 Electric features a parallel-type linkage for improved visibility over the attachment being used as well as 100% parallel movements to suit use in fork applications. Also included on the machine is a new intuitive HMI (human machine interface) system designed for the company’s electric compact machines to help ensure optimized operation and comfort.
Two battery size options are available for the L20 Electric, a 33- or 40-kWh battery pack. This allows customers to configure their machine based on their needed net operating time and planned charging schedule said Mannesi. The loader can be charged from 0-100% in up to five hours on public charging stations or using the charging cable provided with the wheel loader. Customers can expect to get up to six hours of active working time on a single charge with this new wheel loader.
A new parking brake concept with hill-hold functionality will be introduced with the L20 Electric, as well, said Mannesi, to help further improve operator comfort.
The new EC18 and ECR18 Electric compact excavators have many aspects in common with their diesel equivalent, said Clement Brette, Global Product Manager for Compact Excavators at Volvo CE, during the virtual launch event. These include use of the same machine structures, a high level of operator comfort, the same hydraulics systems and optimized lifting and digging capabilities.
Brette said the 1.8-ton EC18 Electric is a conventional machine available with a heated cab or a canopy. It has a battery capacity of 20 kWh and run time range of three to five hours depending on the application. According to Volvo CE, the excavator’s variable undercarriage retracts to less than 3.3 ft. and expands up to 4.4 ft., allowing it to squeeze into the tightest of areas, while the machine’s design ensures the right frame corner, swing post and cylinder stay within the tracks’ width, resulting in maximum visibility and a reduced risk of machine damage when working alongside obstacles.
Meanwhile the ECR18 Electric is a short-radius equivalent of the EC18 Electric. This 1.8-ton excavator features a 0.5-in. overhang in the back and the front right corner stays within frame when rotating, ensuring maneuverability in tight spaces. This machine is only available with a canopy. It has a 16-kWh battery capacity and a runtime range of two and half to four hours depending on application.
Both compact excavators feature 5-in. color displays with simplified menus to ensure ease of operation. The machines are compatible with Volvo’s range of fast chargers and can be recharged from 0-80% in up to one hour.
Brette said all of the electric machines come with charging cables which use the same protocols as public charging stations. They come with a Type 2 plug and can be used on household outlets as well as workshop blue or red outlets, ensures customers can recharge their equipment wherever they may be. The charging cables include built-in protection from overheating and other electrical risks.
Volvo CE has also developed a range of fast chargers to provide customers with even more charging flexibility. These chargers can be used indoors or outdoors, as well as various power outputs in order to adjust to customers’ specific needs, said Brette.
Ensuring optimal machine performance
Mannesi noted a frequent question the company gets from customers is how long they can operate the electric machines. “In general, our electric compact machines are designed to cover one full working shift with a standard on-off working pattern,” he said.
However, because the operation time is dependent upon how the equipment is being used, Volvo CE has developed an operating time calculator. This allows operating time to be calculated by the customer’s specific operations, explained Mannesi. The calculator can also help plan the charging routine based on how the customer’s working profile. Currently, the ECR25 and L25 are included in the calculator; the three new electric machines will be added in the first quarter of 2022. A public version will be available later in the year, as well.
According to Volvo CE, electrification can open the door to new, helpful digital tools such as the Electric Machines Management Application (EMMA) it will soon be introducing for use with all its electric powered equipment. EMMA will allow customers to:
- view machine battery levels
- get charging notifications
- view location of all machines
- keep track of remaining battery and working hours.
This fleet management tool is designed to provide customers with easy access to machine information. “We want customers to be able to fully utilize their machines to the fullest capacity, and EMMA can support that,” said Ing-Marie Perneblad, Product Owner Fleet Management at Volvo CE, during the virtual launch event.
More functionalities will be added in the future such as more map functionalities. A built-in feedback function is included currently so users can provide insights into what features of the app work, and what they would like to see in the future to help guide Volvo CE’s development efforts, she said.
EMMA will be available at the beginning of 2022, and a demo version is currently available online.
Volvo CE plans to make the new electric machines available for production starting in the second quarter of 2022. Online pre-ordering is currently available. As with the launch of its first two electric machines, the new L20 Electric, EC18 Electric and ECR18 Electric will first be available to customers in 12 European countries followed by other markets in the future.