Volvo CE unveils 100% electric compact excavator prototype

Published 10/7 at 12:07

Volvo Construction Equipment has unveiled the EX2, its latest concept machine to industry specialists, policymakers, media and academics at the Volvo Group Innovation Summit in May.

Believed to be the world’s first fully electric compact excavator prototype, the EX2 delivers zero emissions, 10 times higher efficiency, 10 times lower noise levels and reduced total cost of ownership compared to its conventional counterparts. 

To make the EX2 prototype fully electric, the combustion engine has been replaced with two lithium ion batteries, totalling 38KWh, which store enough electrical energy to operate the machine for eight hours in an intense application, such as digging compact ground. The hydraulics has also been replaced with electrics, which incorporate electromechanical linear actuators that help to optimize the transmission chain. Removing the hydraulic system and the combustion engine, as well as reducing the cooling needs, has led to significantly lower noise levels. At this stage, the EX2 is purely a research project and there are currently no plans for industrialization. 

The EX2 stemmed from the company’s earlier ELEXC research project, which was partly financed by the French government, as well as various funding bodies in France. Volvo CE worked with a team of six partner companies which all contributed towards the €7M project. The ELEXC work started in 2012 and concluded in 2015, Volvo CE has since been working on other research projects connected to the EX2, such as durability tests.

“The electrification of construction equipment will produce cleaner, quieter and more efficient machines; this represents the future of our industry,” said Volvo lead electrics and electronics systems engineer and EX2 project leader Ahcène Nedjimi. “The EX2 is a revolutionary machine. With its zero emissions and ten times lower noise levels, it could easily be used in densely populated areas without disturbing people, even at night. Ten times higher machine efficiency and maintenance-free systems mean that operating costs and total cost of ownership would be significantly reduced. 

The prototype machine delivers the same power and force as its conventional counterpart, as well as faster speeds in combined movements. And all of this has been achieved without compromising on machine performance, ensuring customer needs would be fulfilled.”

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