John Deere has unveiled the concept of an all-electric backhoe, a type of digger, at an early stage of development. The manufacturer not only wants to promote electric vehicles in agriculture but also on construction sites in the future.
The concept vehicle, which has so far been named E-Power, matches the performance level of the diesel-powered 100 HP 310L Backhoe loader and offers simple operation. John Deer does provide concrete differences to the aforementioned diesel counterpart and performance data due to the early project phase. Instead, it highlights the general benefits of an electric construction machine: “The design is intended to provide substantially lower daily operating costs, lower job-site noise, enhanced machine reliability, and zero tailpipe emissions.”
The 310L Backhoe features a 75 kW diesel (4.5-litre displacement) and a working weight of 6.65 tons. The challenge with an electric counterpart is the powertrain and all the ancillary equipment and hydraulics for the excavator buckets, which are also powered by the combustion engine.
In the test phase, the manufacturer is working with the US utility National Grid to test the vehicles on its construction sites. National Grid is expected to confirm the concept in principle and help further improve electric vehicles’ design. The utility serves more than 20 million people in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
“This project is another stepping stone in our backhoe innovation journey, intended to lead to subsequent electrification testing and design refinement,” said Jason Daly, global director of manufacturing systems, technology and marketing at John Deere.