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Clean Transport Pon Caterpillar electric shovel

Published on January 30th, 2018 | by Steve Hanley


Scandinavia Is Home To Heavy-Duty Electric Construction Equipment & Truck Development

January 30th, 2018 by  

Companies in Scandinavia are pushing the development of electric construction equipment and medium-duty trucks forward. In Norway, two companies are working on electric earth moving equipment and in Sweden, Volvo Trucks has announced it will begin selling electric medium-duty delivery trucks in 2019.

Pon Caterpillar 323F

Pon Equipment, in association with Caterpillar, has developed a zero emissions 25 inch (63.5 cm) electric excavator called the 323F that will be sold as part of the company’s Z Line of zero emissions earth moving and construction equipment. The machine can operate for up to 7 hours on a single battery charge. One hour of charging using a 400 volt charger gives it enough power to do another hour of work. If a 1000 volt charger is available, a full battery charge can be obtained in about 90 minutes. The electric digger is intended for use in urban areas where noise and emissions standards are becoming increasingly restrictive.

Pon Caterpillar electric shovel

The 323F looks like a normal power shovel, except that it has no exhaust pipe. It is painted in green to highlight its eco-friendly characteristics and was developed over a period of 11 months by a small team of at Pon with help from Caterpillar, which contributed much of the software needed to operate the new machine.

Now that the basic engineering has been done, Pon plans on offering a conversion service that will replace the diesel engine in a conventional piece of equipment with the batteries, software and controls from the 323F for customers who need zero emissions capability but don’t want to discard machinery that is still satisfactory for more years of service.

NASTA Collaborates On Battery/Fuel Cell Shovel

NASTA is Norway’s largest distributor of construction equipment, specializing in Hitachi products. In cooperation with several partners, including Siemens and Sintef, it is developing its own 30 inch (76 cm) zero emissions excavator which will feature battery and fuel cell technology. The first prototype will be built on the chassis of an existing Hitachi excavator.

“This will be an exciting project for the construction industry. Larger, emission-free construction machines are already in demand by public builders … SINTEF will use its expertise in hydrogen and battery technology, as well as construction processes with NASTA and Siemens to develop a 30-inch (76 cm) excavator, “says Marianne Kjendseth Wiik, a researcher at SINTEF.

The Zero Emissions Digger (ZED) program is being conducted in cooperation with the Research Council of Norway, Enova, and Innovation Norway. The new equipment will be free of carbon and nitrogen emissions. The prototype should be ready for testing at construction sites in and around Oslo in 2019. It is expected to save more than 100 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Electric Medium-Duty Trucks Coming From Volvo

Volvo electric delivery truck

Diesel powered trucks have several unpleasant side effects. First, they spew copious amounts of carbon and nitrogen emissions into the atmosphere along with fine particulates that can cause serious health issues. Second, they are raucous. All that noise prevents them from being used in many urban environments during the nighttime.

According to CNET, the city of Stockholm recently did a study to see if using electric trucks at night when traffic congestion is at a minimum would make deliveries more efficient. The study concluded that the practice would allow most deliveries to be completed in one third the normal amount of time.

“By using electrically powered and quieter trucks for goods transport in urban areas, we meet several challenges simultaneously,” says Claes Nilsson, President of Volvo Trucks. “Without disturbing noise and exhaust gases, it will be possible to operate in more sensitive city centers. Transport may also take place throughout less busy periods, for example in late evening and at night. This will reduce the burden on the roads during daytime rush hour traffic, allowing both the road network and vehicles to be utilized far more effectively than today.”

Volvo Trucks plans to start delivering its medium-duty delivery trucks to customers in 2019. A rapid rollout of its Electromobilty vehicles is possible thanks to the pioneering work the company has done on building electric buses. Many of the components for its buses will be adapted to the delivery trucks.

And that is just the beginning. “We believe in full electrification for urban distribution as a first step. However, we are working with electrification for other transport applications. This is only the beginning,” Nilsson says.



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About the Author

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island and anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. His motto is, "Life is not measured by how many breaths we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away!" You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.

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