While most manufacturers of larger machines focus much of their engineering resources on Tier 4 performance and experiments with hybrid machines, Wacker Neuson, which specializes in compact equipment, is hard at work building a zero-emissions fleet.
At the Bauma show in Munich last month, Wacker Neuson displayed its “E” lineup and discussed the machines with the press with quite a bit of excitement and optimism for the line’s prospects.
Although Wacker Neuson has no plans as of yet to make these machines available in North America, it’s hard to imagine demand for zero-emissions machines never picking up stateside. And by the time that happens, the company will likely have a stable full of electric workhorses and a generous head start on the competition in terms of engineering dependability and experience with this technology, which is still very much in its infancy.
So let’s take a look at the electric machines the company is offering European customers. While we’ve seen electric equipment pop up here and there – a telehandler from Genie, work truck from Mitsubishi Fuso and cranes from Zee Cranes – no company is offering an actual electric lineup like Wacker Neuson.
The line already includes two wheel loaders, an excavator, a dumper and two rammers.
The largest and newest electric machine from Wacker Neuson is the Kramer 5055e wheel loader. Like the rest of the company’s electric offerings, this battery-powered loader is designed for work on urban jobsites or inside buildings and tunnels where diesel emissions and noise make work a whole lot more complicated.
The machine is powered by two lead acid battery-driven electric motors: one for the hydraulics and one for the drive system.
It features a 0.55 cubic-meter bucket and can work up to five hours on a charge. Depending on the options selected, charge time takes anywhere from three to six hours.
The loader, which will be released this summer in Europe, won a Bauma innovation award at last month’s show.
The Wacker Neuson WL20e wheel loader reaches a tipping load up to nearly 3,000 pounds. Like the Kramer loader, the WL20e is powered by two lead acid battery-driven electric motors and can work for up to five hours.
This mini excavator supports both diesel engine and fully electric operation through connection to an external Wacker Neuson HPU8 electro-hydraulic power unit.
When connected to the power unit, the excavator’s 360-degree swing radius is unrestricted.
With a maximum payload of up to 2,200 pounds, the DT10e dumper can be used on indoor demolition work. With a width of about 31 inches, the dumper fits through any standard door.
The dumper is powered by three electric motors: two driving the tracks and the third driving the hydraulics. It can be used for eight hours on one charge.
Wacker Neuson offers two electric rammers. The smaller AS30e is designed for compaction around pipe spandrels, while the AS50e is built for traditional rammer work.
The battery for each model can be used independently and can be removed without tools for an easy battery switch whenever you run out of juice.