The construction industry may become a little more pleasant to be around thanks to Volvo Group, which demonstrated a prototype of the world’s first electric excavator at its "Innovation Summit" in London on Tuesday.Â
Volvo Construction Equipment says the EX2 model – which is still a research project – has zero emissions, is 10 times more efficient and 10 times quieter than a conventional unit, and also has lower lifecycle costs.
The EX2 is powered by two lithium ion batteries with an energy output of 38KWh, enough to carry out a demanding task such as digging compact ground for eight hours. The hydraulic system has also been replaced with electromechanical linear actuators that Volvo says helps to optimise the transmission chain.
The company adds that removing the hydraulic system and the combustion engine, as well as reducing the machine’s cooling requirements, has led to significantly lower noise levels.
Thomas Bitter, Volvo’s senior vice president of marketing, said:Â "We are developing technologies connected to electromobility, intelligent machines and total site solutions that will benefit our customers and the environment by contributing to increased machine performance, productivity, efficiency, safety and sustainability."
The EX2 stemmed from the company’s €7m ELEXC research, which was partly financed by the French government.
Volvo Group also demonstrated an autonomous garbage truck from Volvo Trucks and an electric bus from Volvo Buses.
In September 2016, the company unveiled two other electric machines: the LX1 hybrid electric loader and the HX1 load carrier prototypes as part of the company’s offering for the autonomous and electrified quarries.
Volvo Group is a Swedish-owned company that makes buses, trucks, construction equipment and electrical drives; it is a separate from Volvo Cars, which is owned by Chinese automotive giant Geely – and which is working on its own electric vehicle launch in 2019.
Image: The machine in action (Volvo Group)