Battery-powered electric construction equipment is just as powerful, but exponentially less expensive to operate.
The convergence has begun. Traditional construction tools of the trade that once ran on fuel are being reimagined and redesigned to run on battery power. It’s possible because of the rapid evolution of battery technology, which has made it possible to match or even exceed the power generated by the traditional internal combustion engine – but with benefits that are nearly exponentially better.
Electric power generated by batteries is clean and renewable. It’s non-polluting, and it’s safer for us to be around. Beating all this is a dramatic decrease in operating costs. From an energy perspective, the price of the electricity to recharge a battery-powered piece of construction equipment is a mere fraction of the cost of the fuel needed to produce the same amount of energy in an internal combustion engine.
Radical concept, or practical reality?
This is already happening now. Traction batteries have been used for years in forklifts. If you play golf, you probably drove around all day in a golf cart powered by a traction battery. Then, of course, there’s that cool Tesla that passed you on the highway last week. Yes, that’s courtesy of a traction battery as well.
These aren’t the same power sources as the car battery you see when you open the hood of your car. Those are meant to provide just enough juice to start your engine and provide lighting. Traction batteries are designed to provide power – and lots of it – for sustained periods of time. They are relatively light compared to the power they deliver. The amount of electricity a traction battery can store is measured in ampere hours, and the total energy they can deliver is measured in watt hours.
These batteries power a motor that can utilize up to 90% of the electricity delivered. Compared that to at most 30% of the energy that an internal combustion engine delivers. It makes even a small battery-powered electric motor extremely powerful.
Did you know that most diesel-powered seagoing ships and train engines are actually burning the fossil fuel to generate electricity that powers an electric motor? Yeah, that’s how powerful these engines are!
Regaining the crown
Ironically, as motorized vehicles began to replace horse-drawn carriages, it was an electric engine you found under the hood. Electric vehicles were already being prepared for mass production in the late 1800s, and they remained popular until after the turn of the century.
Ultimately, they lost out to the internal combustion engine – but mainly for just one reason. Their heavy, limited batteries couldn’t compete with the range of a vehicle with a fuel-powered engine.
Today’s much lighter traction batteries are once again shifting the favor back to vehicles with electric engines. The constant energy source delivered also makes it perfect to power just about anything that needs a lot of muscle power, including construction equipment.
Electric motors were always capable of matching the power of the internal combustion engine, but who wanted to be tethered to a power cord?
It makes dollars and sense
The construction trade has been closely watching this innovation. For many in the industry, fuel costs take the biggest toll on their bottom line. These next-generation batteries are a perfect power source to replace the internal combustion engine found in most construction equipment, no matter what the size is. The transformations have already begun.
Our Sherpa electric mini skid steer and the PowerPac battery-powered wheelbarrow both come with modular attachments that allow them to be truly multifunctional. They offer clean, silent power at a literal fraction of the operating cost—with attachments ranging from hydraulic clamps, plows and buckets, augers and hammers, and even sweepers and tractor treads.
Sorry, internal combustion engine. You had your century in the sun but now it’s time for energy efficient electric construction equipment to make it safer for our people, and more profitable for our businesses.
For more detail on our battery-powered mini skid steers and wheelbarrows, or the technology we use to make them run, explore our website. And please contact us at 954.978.3440 or through our online form with any questions.