In response to customer demands for a yellow machine that can work indoors, underground and close to people in urban areas, UK-based heavy equipment manufacturer JCB has developed its first electric excavator (a “digger” to our British mates).
The 19C-1 E-Tec mini-excavator not only delivers zero emissions, it is five times quieter than its diesel-powered counterpart – external noise is 7 dBA lower. This means contractors can work after normal hours in urban streets without disturbing residents, and operate in noise-sensitive environments such as hospitals and schools. The e-digger delivers the same power as a diesel machine, and with no daily checks of coolant and engine oil levels required, it can get to work quicker.
The 19C-1 E-Tec has three lithium-ion battery packs with total energy capacity of 15 kWh. The rugged battery housing is designed for off-road construction use. The on-board charger can recharge in 6 hours at 230 V. An optional fast charging system will be available at launch, allowing a full charge in 2.5 hours.
Using a 48 V electrical system, the electric motor delivers instant, greater torque than the standard machine’s diesel engine. The motor drives a Bosch Rexroth load-sensing hydraulic system, delivering the same digging performance as JCB’s standard 1.9-ton excavator. The efficiency of this electric-hydraulic combination means a considerably lower cooling requirement – only a small hydraulic cooler with a small thermostatic electric fan and no engine radiator – contributing to longer battery life and a lower noise level. The 19C-1 E-TEC is equipped with the same adjustable undercarriage and choice of digging equipment as the diesel model.
The new digger is to go on sale at the end of this year.
“By replacing the diesel engine with an efficient, 48 V electrical driveline, with the latest-generation automotive battery cells, JCB has once again moved the mini-excavator market forwards,” said JCB Chief Innovation and Growth Officer Tim Burnhope. “The 19C-1 E-TEC will provide contractors with a zero-emission, low-noise solution, allowing them to work independently, in late night urban conditions, within buildings and even in rail tunnels with no requirement for costly exhaust extraction equipment.”