For the past few years, Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) has been on a path toward increased electrification of its product lineup, as it showcased various concept and prototype models and their extensive testing on active jobsites. In 2019, the company announced its intent to launch a range of electric compact excavators and wheel loaders by mid-2020, ending new diesel engine-based development of these models.
True to its word, by August 2020, Volvo CE was prebooking orders in North America for the ECR25 electric excavator and L25 electric wheel loader. In December, the first delivery of an electric ECR25 to a customer occurred in France, with deliveries anticipated to begin in North America by mid-2021.
As the next stage in its electromobility journey, Volvo CE has now unveiled the EX03, its first electric prototype in the mid-size excavator class.
“This prototype is a significant step forward in the evolution of medium electric construction machines,” stated Inwoo Kim, program manager for Advanced Engineering at Volvo CE. “As our first electric excavator concept in the mid-size range, we have been quick to build and expand on our existing electromobility technology.”
The EX03 “represents the future for safer and more environmentally responsible construction sites,” the company states, and follows on the technology and product design iterations of the fully electric EX02 concept electric excavator. The 14-ton EX03 is equipped with a battery pack from Volvo Trucks and boasts the same performance level as a diesel machine in the same class.
According to Volvo CE, the electric prototype – the latest development from the Volvo Concept Lab – aims to deliver zero emissions, higher efficiency, lower noise levels and reduced total cost of ownership compared to its conventional counterparts. One of the unique features built into the concept model is a video screen on the back of the machine that offers three configurations:
- A real-time video stream from the front of the machine, allowing vehicles behind it to clearly see ahead when driving on public highways.
- A text-based safety screen alerting workers on site to left and right movement or reversing.
- A safety communication livestream enabling the operator to make eye contact with pedestrians and workers, minimizing misunderstandings and increasing safety.
Volvo CE plans to test a similar version of the EX03 in customer pilots, but indicated that the model is in the concept stage with no current no plans to bring it to market.