Volvo introduces three new electric compact machines

By Jenny LescohierOctober 12, 2021

Volvo's new electric machines are planned for U.S. availability in the second half of 2022

Volvo CE introduces three new electric compact machines – the L20 Electric, EC18 Electric and ECR18 Electric – bringing its stable of electric models up to five, the largest in the constuction industry.

Volvo recently unveiled its ECR25 electric excavator at The Utility Expo in Louisville, KY, promoting its quiet operation with performance the company said is identical to its diesel-powered models.

The electric-powered models run on lithium-ion batteries and can be charged using a 220/240-volt electrical socket, the type of outlet many larger home appliances use.

These latest models are the next step forward in Volvo CE’s ambition to reach net zero value chain greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 – alongside development of hydrogen fuel cell solutions and more sustainable internal combustion engine products – and is part of Volvo Group’s target to have at least 35% of its total range of vehicles fully electric by 2030.

These new machines are planned for U.S. availability in the second half of 2022.

L20 Electric compact wheel loader

The L20 Electric compact wheel loader and EC18 Electric and ECR18 Electric compact excavators join the already launched L25 Electric and ECR25 Electric. The two existing models are already established on the market. The three new models represent the latest additions to Volvo CE’s industry-first commitment to move its range of Volvo-branded compact wheel loaders and compact excavators to electric and stop development of new diesel variants.

The L20 Electric is a proven concept based on the larger L25 Electric model. It features a 1.8-ton payload and a parallel-type linkage offering increased visibility over the attachment being used, competitive lifting height, as well as 100% parallel movements – making it suitablefor fork applications too.

Expected to deliver up to six hours of active work per charge, the electric machine comes with a choice of battery pack (33kWh or 40kWh) and reduces maintenance by 30%. As well as the more peaceful working conditions offered by its near-silence, operating comfort is also enhanced thanks to the new automatic park brake with hill-hold functionality and a range of customizable work modes.

ECR18 Electric compact excavator

The 1.8-ton ECR18 Electric is designed to provide the same stability and operator experience customers expect from its diesel counterpart but with the benefit of low noise, low vibration and more responsive hydraulics due to the immediate torque.

Delivering an anticipated four hours of active work per charge, depending on the environment and task in hand, the ECR18 Electric also benefits from an ultra-short tail radius (perfect for confined spaces). It has been built with durability in mind – from its high profile counterweight to all-round steel panels and hoses routed inside the boom.

EC18 Electric compact excavator

Built for ease of operation and transport, the EC18 Electric offers customers a cost-efficient compact excavator working in 1.8-ton applications. Its variable undercarriage retracts to less than 1m and expands up to 1.35m, allowing it to squeeze into tight 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.

As well as ergonomic controls, a spacious cab and a range of customizable settings, it also offers the option of an enclosed and heated cab.

All three machines come with an integrated on-board charger allowing them to charge from zero to 100% in under six hours. With an optional fast off-board charger, the L20 Electric will fully charge in under just two hours, while the ECR18 Electric and EC18 Electric will charge up to 80% in up to 1.25 hours.

The new machines will use Volvo’s new EMMA (Electric Machine Management Application) fleet management solution designed to remotely monitor electric machines. The system will give users battery level and remaining work hours, charging status, geographic location and more.

Can electric construction equipment perform like diesel machines?

Volvo CE has said that the ECR25 electric excavator and L25 electric wheel loader have nearly identical specifications to their diesel equivalents. The models are being used in a pilot program in California by Baltic Sands Inc., a company that specializes in environmentally sensitive, luxury property development and real estate.

“My opinion is that they perform equally to diesel machines in terms of the productivity. It has surprised me,” said Jacques Marais, director, Baltic Sands. “They also support our ideology of being eco-friendly and responsible. We like to think that we are ahead of the evolutionary step in this direction.”

Ben Benoit from the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which has put $2 million toward the pilot project, added, “This is a great opportunity to see electric excavators and wheel loaders in real-world applications.” 

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