The Benefits and Challenges of Embracing Electric Equipment

New Jobs, Less Maintenance, Green Marketing vs. High Price and Charging Infrastructure

Progressive contractors are already familiar with the importance of technology in the construction fleet. Grade control, as an example, has become essential for earthworks professionals, using automation on (say) a track loader or mini excavator to build precision slopes, ditches and foundations. Here’s another: Telematics is a digital service that allows remote access to critical machine information, tracking things like maintenance and security and sending that data directly to an employee’s computer, tablet or phone. These technologies add new tools to a company’s toolbox, allowing them to complete jobs more efficiently, use less employees, add new projects, maintain better machines and earn more money.

These types of technologies are rarely cheap, but their ability to upgrade operations is worth the investment. Battery-powered construction equipment is the latest technology arriving on dealer lots and rental yards around the country, and a lot of nuts-and-bolts contractors are similarly wondering if these e-units will fit into their fleets and how they will enhance operations. For starters, there should be no compromise in power or ability with battery-powered construction equipment.

“Electric equipment can work anywhere you utilize diesel equipment with the added ability to work in environments where noise and exhaust may be an issue,” says Rebecca Yates, Senior Manager – Product at JCB North America. “For example, electric equipment can be used in road or bridge work without requiring exhaust extraction equipment. Electric equipment is also safe and has low environmental impact, making it the perfect solution for event setup or in food and animal industries, where typically noise and exhaust are important considerations. Electric equipment also extends working hours due to the low level of noise, so you can run equipment in the early morning or late evening hours, maximizing productivity at the jobsite.”

The use of electric power in construction machines is not new. Electric-powered equipment has long been used in the mining and demolition markets. Certain machine sectors like industrial forklifts and mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) have used batteries for years. Now, popular compact equipment categories like mini excavators and compact telehandlers are getting electrified, which is an exciting proposition for progressive contractors, but there are both challenges and benefits to these battery-powered units. Where does electric off-highway construction equipment fit in a fleet’s toolbox, and how can they be used to make a company more efficient and profitable? Let’s find out.

Advantages: Less Maintenance/Noise, Zero Emissions/Smell and Lots More

Electric-powered construction equipment isn’t that different than diesel-powered equipment. Most current electric models are a variant of a diesel model in which a lithium-ion battery and electric motor replaces the diesel engine and mechanically driven hydraulic pump. The rest of the machine is pretty much the same. With the absence of a diesel engine, maintenance on a battery-powered machine will be a lot less messy…

Curious about taking your fleet electric? Check out the ROI Guide to Electric Construction Equipment with JCB to answer all your questions about battery-powered construction equipment.

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