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Volvo Construction Equipment introduced industry colleagues to its latest excavator model – the EX02 – at its recent Innovation Summit in London.

According to Volvo, the prototype machine is the world’s first fully electric excavator.

Although the EX02 is almost completely silent, produces zero emissions it is said to deliver 10 times greater efficiency than equivalent conventional models.

According to the product specialists at the event, the digging force of the electric excavator is also equivalent to competitor machines in the same weight bracket.

Volvo replaced the EX02’s combustion engine with two lithium ion batteries, with a total power output of 38 KWh. The batteries are said to store enough electric energy to operate the machine for eight hours in an intense application, such as digging compact ground.

All of the excavator’s hydraulics have been replaced with electric components, including electro-mechanical linear actuators that help optimise the transmission chain.

The machine headlined on the day, but no date has as yet been set for it to come on to the market.

Speaking about the machine, Thomas Bitter, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product Portfolio, refused to be drawn on when the EX02 might become available.

He said, “This is the very first machine of this type we have built, so it’s certainly not optimised. Most of the components are bought as single pieces and they are not cost optimised.

“This is purely a feasibility study,” he said, “supported by the French government as a research project.

“What happens now is that we will go on to a reliability study. We will need some more years to work on that.

“There is another issue; this is going to change our way of going to market. We believe this is the future. We have talked about the need for quiet machines, clean machines, and this is one attempt.

“We have developed hybrids, we have shown autonomous machines, electrified haulers, so we have a whole series of machines. The easiest to electrify is probably a hauler, the most difficult is the wheeled loader and excavator, because of the variety of tasks the machines have to execute.”

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