Interview: Cooperation in standardizing charging tech is key to electric adoption

By Murray Pollok and Jenny LescohierOctober 26, 2022

Wacker Neuson’s offers a range of hand-operated equipment, including the electric APU3050e vibratory plate

Wacker Neuson’s commitment to electrically powered equipment is unquestionable - case in point, all of its hand-operated equipment will be battery powered by 2030. Standardization of charging technology will be key to widespread industry adoption, however, and that depends on cooperation among manufacturers.

That’s according to Alexander Greschner, chief sales officer at Wacker Neuson, who noted that 20-25% of Wacker Neuson’s light equipment is already electric and progress in electrifying the complete range will be rapid, although some fuel-powered models will be required for certain markets.

“Today there are not many petrol breakers, there are almost no breakers that have a cable. It’s all battery now,” Greschner told International Rental News at Bauma 2022 in Munich, Germany. “We expect also these products to follow rather quickly on the other compact equipment side.”

Greschner said a key enabler of the adoption of battery-powered light equipment was the agreement between many of the suppliers to standardize on battery packs.  “When you take today the global market for rammers and plates, I think it’s 70% who are now members of this [battery alliance]. That means for the customer it’s not such a difficult decision.”

Bomag, Mikasa, Enarco and Swepac are among those using the Battery One pack.

The push is now on to electrify the compact equipment that is in Wacker Neuson’s product range, including wheel loaders, excavators and telehandlers. Currently, electric equipment overall represents a single-digit percentage of the OEM’s revenues.

Greschner said the experience of marketing electric wheel loaders to farmers highlighted the need to provide a full solution, including the charging technology.

“That is the solution which is I think is required for us also now in construction,” he said, adding that power banks – energy storage – will be the best answer, but just as important will be cooperation between OEMs on charging technology.

Greschner noted it took the forklift industry eight years to find a common charger. “I hope we do not take so long,” he said. “If you look around at Bauma, there are

Alexander Greschner, chief sales officer at Wacker Neuson Group

50 manufacturers of excavators here.

“As soon as you want to do quick charging, you need to have communication with the machine’s system. To create power banks for multiple brands, I believe that we will have to start with four or five key manufacturers to work on the standard… We want to be part of this and help to drive it.”

He continued, “Maybe the rental companies can push it - they could help. If you take the three big in Europe, if they would really agree between each other, they could push us as suppliers and they could also help convert the market.”

He said the next big step for Wacker Neuson will be to electrify its excavators in the 4- to 5-tonne class.

Currently its electric limit is 1.5-tonne class machines in dumpers, excavators and telehandlers, as well its 0.7-cubic-meter-capacity wheel loaders.

He said an electric 4- or 5-tonne excavator could be ready for Bauma 2025, with liquid-cooled batteries being key in allowing rapid charging. He added it was Wacker Neuson’s intention to leave the operating characteristics of its machines, such as zero tailswing, unchanged when switching to battery power.

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