Gradall has unveiled an electrified concept model of its multipurpose, highway speed wheeled excavator, powered by Volvo Penta’s electric driveline. In a nearly decade-long partnership, Volvo Penta has been an exclusive supplier of 5- and 8-liter Tier 4f engines for Gradall’s diesel-powered telescopic boom excavators. The companies are now taking the first step into electromobility.
The zero-emissions concept machine, named EL41H4, is an electrified version of the OEM’s XL 4100 V highway speed wheeled excavator. It was on display at this year’s Conexpo 2023 show.
The concept machine is powered entirely by two Volvo Penta batteries, matched to the duty cycle of the excavator, which fit into the existing engine bay. The electric driveline system from Volvo Penta also includes the complete high voltage system — electric motors, gearboxes, inverters, junction boxes and cabling.
Unlike a traditional hydraulic excavator, Gradall’s highway speed product features a telescopic boom mounted next to a separate cab sitting to the rear of a road-going chassis that allows the machine to be independently dispatched to many locations throughout the workday, rather than requiring a low loader for transport.
With a hydraulic system powered by a Volvo Penta-supplied electric machine power take-off (EM PTO), this concept machine can effectively use battery power to transport its own excavator. The system will deliver 94 kWh of energy, and with the increased likelihood of the EL41H4 operator returning to the yard between jobs or for lunch, the potential is high for opportunity charging, or reaching full capacity in under 45 minutes from a 150 kW charger.
For comparison, the conventional XL 4100 is powered by a 7.7 liter Volvo diesel engine rated at 228 hp (168 kW) @ 2,200 rpm. Its hydraulic system includes a load-sensing axial piston pump delivering a maximum 77 gpm flow and a gear pump (for pilot and cooling) supplying 11 gpm.
Four double-acting cylinders handle boom, hoist and tool functions; and three hydraulic motors power the swing, tilt and remote-drive functions. Operating pressures are up to 4,800 psi. Rated boom force is 21,940 lb and rated bucket breakout force is 24,900 lb.
Oil capacity of the pressurized reservoir is 50 gal, and the filtration system includes a 5 µm return filter with magnet and a 10 µm pilot filter. Pressure-compensated, load-sensing valves with circuit reliefs are used in all circuits. The machine also has integral hydraulic power steering via a gear-type pump.
With growing interest from Gradall’s municipality customers for quieter, cleaner solutions that meet intensifying sustainability demands and regulations, collaborative electromobility discussions between Gradall and Volvo Penta began in spring 2022.
“We were looking for a major power solutions provider with a good track record to partner with,” said Mike Popovich, President of Gradall. “We see Volvo Penta as a power partner rather than an engine supplier — this is a turnkey solution to them. Volvo Penta’s full systems approach and expertise, together with proven Volvo Group technology, was the ideal solution for us. This is a natural progression of our existing partnership towards where we’re both heading in the future.”
“At Volvo Penta, we partner with our customers and collaborate to optimize the design and adapt the complete electric driveline system for a specific vehicle, allowing us to deliver a tailored solution based on their exact usage requirements,” added Fredrik Högberg, President of Volvo Penta North America. “We are on hand and provide technical expertise throughout the entire design and development stages, so our collaboration with Gradall is still very much ongoing — it’s a true partnership.”
The unique highway speed design — and its suitability for work in environments where knuckle boom models may not be the ideal fit for operation, such as under overhead obstructions like power lines — means the concept has huge potential for application to other designs in the Gradall portfolio. Currently, the EL41H4 is still a concept machine, and extensive testing and development are required to move toward commercialization.