Wacker Neuson, Menomonee Falls, Wisc., aims to help construction contractors meet their daily job-site challenges, whether the task demands conventional equipment or alternative-powered battery electric machines.
A central focus of the company’s booth at Conexpo 2023 was the EZ17e 1.7-ton battery-powered mini excavator, essentially an electric analog of the company’s proven diesel-powered EZ17 excavator. The EZ17 is the most powerful zero tail excavator in its class, according to company officials. With no rear overhang, the unit is well-suited for working directly alongside walls and obstructions.
The machine is powered by a three-cylinder, 1.1 liter Yanmar engine with effective power rating of 13.8 kW (@2,200 rpm). The drive system combines with a load-sensing hydraulic system (load-independent flow distribution) to deliver quick working cycles, wide application flexibility, and straightforward control for comfortable and fatigue-free operation of the excavator. Thanks to hydraulic pilot control, regardless of the load, the control movements on the joystick stay the same. This increases operating comfort and performance, while simultaneously reducing fuel consumption.
The system relies on a variable-displacement pump delivering flow of 39.6 lpm (10.3 gpm) with operating pressure of 240 bar (3,480 psi). Up to four additional control circuits can be factory-installed to suit a variety of attachments.
And for added durability, the stick and lifting arm cylinders are mounted on the upper side of the structures, to minimize potential damage either by colliding with the dozer blade or due to picked-up material. This saves costs and helps ensure safety.
The tracked EZ17e offers the same features and performance as its diesel counterpart but is powered by a 16.5 kW synchronous reluctance motor and 23.4 kWh lithium ion battery. Thus, the machine provides the power and performance needed for digging or breaking efficiently and is an excellent zero-emission solution for indoor applications and in areas where noise and exhaust are a concern, such as construction sites in urban areas and those operating around the clock.
The battery in the EZ17e offers all-day run time (typical battery run time is 420 minutes) and it can be recharged using a common 240 V, single-phase outlet. Charge time is between five and six hours. In addition, the machine can continue to operate in a stationary position while connected to a power source, if necessary.
The lithium ion battery includes an integrated heater that allows charging regardless of the ambient temperature, and the unit can be charged from various power sources (100 to 415 V). Likewise, the excavator can work under full load up to an ambient temperature of 45° C/113° F. Maintaining a stable temperature level results in a long service life for hydraulic components and higher productivity.
Wacker Neuson electric construction machines are also low-maintenance units where service costs are reduced to a minimum. The battery is maintenance-free. Likewise, the typical maintenance work on conventional machines is eliminated, such as changing engine oil and filters and the associated service material costs.
The EZ17e offers a simple intuitive operating concept that enables simple and comprehensive control of the excavator. The machine is operated using a joystick, jog dial and keypad with all the information needed in the easy-to-read, 7-inch display — for example the charge level of the battery or settings for auxiliary control circuits.
It has a maximum digging depth of 97.7-in., a breakout force of 4,608 lb. and the ability to run auxiliary attachments such as hydraulic breakers. There is also the new option of operating the quick-coupler system via the display, instead of via the dozer blade lever.
“This zero-emission excavator has been a success in the European market and will launch in North America in late 2023 or early 2024,” explained Gert Reichetseder, President and CEO, Wacker Neuson Americas. “This machine will provide a solution for contractors and rental houses looking for a quiet, zero-emission excavator to expand their businesses into new applications, while meeting environmental regulations,” he said.
“This is the next phase in a long term zero-emission strategy for the United States and Canada. The EZ17e will be a natural addition to the wide range of zero-emission compaction and concrete vibration products we already offer in the Americas. Step by step, we will expand our electric product line with equipment like the EZ17e that has proven successful for Wacker Neuson globally. This includes wheel loaders, excavators, dumpers and telehandlers,” Reichetseder added.