Volvo Construction Equipment Goes Electric on Smaller Machines


With the increasing popularity in electricity – powered technology over fossil fuel – powered technology, automobile companies have sought to adopt electric technology as well as hybrid technology.

Volvo CE is committing to adopting this new technology and has announced that, at least by 2020, the company start releasing as well as launching a large range of electric compact excavators as well as wheel loaders. In the same period, the company also committed to stopping the production of diesel engine-based models.

With this announcement, the company became a pace setter in the industry by becoming the first construction company to commit to manufacturing electric equipment for its smaller machines. The move was mostly motivated by recent customer sentiment as the company received a largely favourable reaction from its market after the company unveiled several beta prototypes as well as concept small machines in the recent years, as well as by working with their customer base.

The new machines are about complete Research and Development, with Volvo CE set to complete validation and testing in the coming months. The company aims to unveil the new machines at Bauma exhibition set to be held in April 2019.  The company will then implement a step – wise strategy whereby it will introduce the machines one market at a time as well as ramp up production and machine introduction in 2020.

The company, however, has stated that diesel combustion is the most appropriate power source for the company’s larger machines. Diesel powered machines were, at one time, considered the environmentally conscious choice for operators but, naturally, as time passed, we realized that the machines were not as environmentally friendly as we imagined.

The major benefit of diesel is that it is quite affordable. The overall lifetime cost of diesel is much cheaper than petrol, and it’s why diesel usually goes for much less. With time, and the popularity of machines that operate on diesel, the cost of diesel continued to go down. With this, it would make sense, at least in the financial sense, for Volvo CE to continue to use diesel in the operations of its larger machines which, as a result of their size, would require vastly significant amounts of fuel. Electric machines are quite expensive in comparison. This is mostly because of the fact that the technology is relatively new and as a result, will obviously sell for much to compensate for research and development costs. Electric machines generally operate through rechargeable batteries within them.

Furthermore, from an operational point of view, it would make more sense for Volvo CE to utilize diesel fuelled machines. This is because diesel can pull greater loads than other fuel options making it ideal for heavy work. This is a result of diesel’s chemical components. Diesel – powered machines are even known to be sturdier. This means that they are generally easier to maintain. This implies that they need less machines spares as well as less truck spares as well. The chemical components within diesel make it a much more efficient fuel. Electric machines typically take a long time to recharge.

As a result, the company insists that electric propulsion is only suitable for the company’s smaller equipment. The company’s research and development department will now focus its efforts on the rapid development of its smaller machines such as the excavators as well as the wheel loaders.

All in all, the move promises to be one for the future as naturally, electric machines have much fewer emissions than their counterpart diesel machines. This implies that the machines are much better for the environment. With their policy to pay attention to their customers, the company will continue to implement changes as well and maintain the path of innovation.


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About the Author: Bayazid Bostami

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