Ponsse presents electric forestry vehicle concept
Finnish forestry machine manufacturer Ponsse has presented the Ponsse EV1, a technology concept for electric forestry machines. The concept, implemented together with Ponsse’s technology company Epec, was developed for skidders with a load capacity of 15 tonnes.
A skidder is a specialized piece of equipment used to load and remove freshly harvested logs. The technology carrier was developed, according to the release, because Ponsse also wants to serve its customers’ needs for more sustainable forestry machines – so the need is obviously there.
Ponsse does not give exact performance data for the EV1 in the release. The electric motors draw their energy from an unspecified battery. However, since the forestry machine is mostly used in areas without sufficient charging infrastructure, “at this stage of development” an internal combustion engine is still installed as a range extender to charge the batteries. Ponsse states that even the range extender provides “significant fuel savings in this size class.”
As Finnish supplier and contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive announces in its own release, the Ponsse EV1 relies on a battery system from Valmet. Again, exact technical data is not given, but some insights into the technology are: for example, the EV1 uses the Modular Power Pack introduced by Valmet last year, which was developed specifically for the requirements of mobile work machines. The system uses cell-to-pack technology (i.e., does without modules). The cells are LTO cells, or lithium titanate. These cells are considered to be particularly long-lasting, but have not gained acceptance in electric passenger cars due to their lower energy density. A few electric bus models rely on LTO batteries.
Ponsse and its subsidiary Epec have already started the first preliminary investigations around energy supply for forestry machines in 2019. At the heart of the electric drive system now being developed is a power distribution unit and a hybrid control unit, both from Epec. The Power Distribution Unit (PDU) distributes the available energy between electric motors, batteries and other connected consumers. The Hybrid Control Unit (HCU) controls the electric powertrain and includes software designed to ensure optimal energy consumption, productivity and ease of use.
“Technological development is fast and offers us excellent opportunities to develop our solutions further, even in unexpected directions,” says Juho Nummela, President and CEO of Ponsse. “This launch of a new technology concept is a peek into the future and one of the solutions offered by electric powertrains. Sustainable development is a significant future success factor for Ponsse. We want to strongly develop our solutions with Epec. Our strategy reform has been successful at Epec, and we’re very happy with Epec’s excellent development.”
Jyri Kylä-Kaila, managing director of Epec, adds, “The different systems, including the transmission and control system, work seamlessly together, enabling the manufacture of safe and efficient zero-emission machines in the future.”