Charging Forward: Toro Continues to Launch Progressive Electric-Powered Work Equipment

It’s exciting to see the American equipment markets beginning to embrace electrification. While certain machine categories have utilized electric-propulsion for some time now (lift equipment like scissors, for instance), earthmoving equipment has been slow to adopt batteries over diesels for a variety of reasons, ranging from the high cost to the complications of electrifying off-highway equipment that require long hours of heavy-duty cycles. In 2022, the U.S. market seems to be shifting.

Over the last few years, Euro machine makers from Volvo to JCB have been teasing electric mini excavators, wheel loaders and telehandlers, and many of those units will finally debut in the United States this year and next, but Toro in particular has been a brand that has been pushing electrification with actual machines on American dealer lots. In 2020, it introduced the Toro e-Dingo 500 compact utility loader powered by lithium-ion battery technology, designed for tasks that require heavy or continuous operation for indoor applications. In the outdoor power equipment arena, Toro sells a whole Flex-Force battery range featuring 60V lithium-ion technology (mowers, leaf blowers, trimmers, power shovels and snow throwers). Last fall, Toro’s commercial lawn mower business announced plans to launch a stand-on and a walk-behind zero-turn mower that are battery powered, both of which will go on sale this year. At World of Concrete in February, Toro showed a prototype electric Ultra Buggy, which looks and feels just like one of its classic mud buggies but wields the company’s lithium-ion battery tech.

“Whether you’re using one for the first time or you’re a seasoned buggy user, the Ultra Buggy feels the same, so it’s very intuitive,” explains Jay Thaker, marketing manager at Toro. “The Ultra Buggy works on the same platform [as Toro’s other mud buggies], but there are key differences. We’ve narrowed the width, so that means that we can use it both indoors and outdoors. It can fit through a standard door with a crash bar. We’re using HyperCell technology [a battery system developed by Toro] which gives it a full, continuous day of run time [eight hours]. It’s designed for indoor work, so even if you’re on an elevator, this platform will fit. It’s got an on-board charger as well. You can remove the cord and just plug it into a standard 10V to charge it overnight.”

Toro electric buggy

Featuring zero exhaust emissions and a narrow width of 31.5 in., the electric Ultra Buggy is ideal for indoor construction and renovation applications. The Ultra Buggy can fit through a 3-ft door with a crash bar and features a zero-turn-radius to navigate hard-to-access areas. Built to be versatile and agile, it’s equipped with a foldup platform so operators can choose to stand on or walk behind the unit. The durable design is ready to haul up to 16 cu ft or 2,500 lbs of material. The Ultra Buggy will be available in fall 2022, but after that, what’s up next from Toro when it comes to electric construction and landscape equipment?

“It’s an exciting time in the construction industry as we begin to explore what alternative power can bring to the jobsite,” said Thaker. “Toro has made great strides with the success of the e-Dingo through utilization of technology-with-purpose to provide demonstrable productivity improvements, and we’re thrilled to launch the electric Ultra Buggy later this fall. It’ll be really interesting to see what the construction industry holds for the next few years, and we’re excited and honored for the role Toro will play in shaping the future of the jobsite.”

Keith Gribbins is publisher of Compact Equipment.

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