Since January 2021, Komatsu and US-based Proterra have been jointly developing electric medium-sized hydraulic excavators and have been conducting Proof of Concept tests on advanced research machines at customers' construction sites.
The PC210E is scheduled to be introduced to the Japanese and European markets in financial year 2023.
Komatsu notes that hydraulic excavators are the most versatile type of construction equipment, and the mid-size class is used in a wide range of jobsites and applications, mainly in earth excavation and loading operations, requiring power and durability to withstand heavy-load work.
The PC210E model is said by the manufacturer to optimise the entire body control system by capitalising on Komatsu’s proprietary coordinating technology.
It specifically integrates Proterra’s lithium-ion battery technology, which has a proven track record for use in heavy-duty and commercial vehicles deployed in various fields globally, combined with Komatsu’s components such as the hydraulic pump, controller, and electric motor for work equipment operation.
Komatsu has also developed a robust cage structure to provide additional protection onboard the vehicle for its battery packs.
As a result, the company has achieved digging performance and durability equivalent to those of engine-driven hydraulic excavators. In addition, the high energy levels in the excavator’s Proterra battery system enables operation for up to a claimed eight hours when fully charged.
The excavator’s electric power makes it possible to work comfortably in various work environments without worrying about noise and exhaust emissions and is expected to be used for work in urban areas and night-time construction work. The zero-engine vibration also helps reduce operator fatigue.
As global awareness of climate change accelerates, Komatsu has declared it plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. In collaboration with its partners, the company is developing electric construction equipment to achieve zero exhaust gas emissions and a significant reduction in noise, with the vision of developing safe, highly productive, smart and clean workplaces of the future.