Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) is building its exhibition space at Conexpo/IFPE 2023 around the theme “Change Starts Here. Be Ready For It.” The 55,000 square-foot Volvo booth, F8926 in the Festival Grounds, will feature the company’s newest products, cutting-edge services and technology offerings in a dedicated Solutions Hall, and areas where attendees can test drive a range of electric excavators and wheel loaders.
“We are committed to being a fossil-free company by 2040,” said Melker Jernberg, president of Volvo CE. “But words will not reach targets. Only moving from words to action will. There is no time to waste and that´s why we say ‘Change Starts Here’ because as we are demonstrating, technology is developing fast and that’s where ‘Be Ready for It’ comes in.
“I think all of us realize there is a huge change going on in society, and huge change that is affecting everyone in all industries,” said Jernberg. “We’re seeing technological developments that no one, until very recently, thought were possible.
“And within our industry, we want to take the lead and transform the industry both when it comes to being more sustainable, but also at the same time being more productive. This is important right now for us and for this generation, but maybe even more important for the coming generations. I think this is urgent and that’s why we say ‘Change Starts Here.’”
At Conexpo our goal is to help our customers prepare for the change, added Stephen Roy, president, Region North America at Volvo CE. “That includes showcasing our wide range of commercially available electric machines, related charging infrastructure and sustainable power alternatives, packaged in a way that is more competitive, productive and sustainable than anyone else in the industry,” he said.
In addition to two large operating arenas in the booth for electric machines, Volvo CE will also feature its electric lineup expansion with the 23-ton EC230 Electric mid-size excavator and DD25 Electric asphalt compactor. Volvo has been selling compact electrical machines and equipment for some time in North America to existing customers and, maybe even more important, to new customers in new segments – where emissions and noise have been key concerns, said Jernberg. The lineup of electric equipment currently available includes three small excavator models and two small loaders.
The EC230 mid-sized electric excavator will expand on these offerings. “The EC230 is our first mid-range heavy equipment piece that’s been electrified,” said Ray Gallant, vice president Product Management and Productivity at Volvo CE North America. “It has a 600-V battery, and it is our first step into electrifying the rest of the range in larger equipment. The EC230 has been out in Europe on customer trials. Now it’s coming to North America. We’ll put it on customer trials this year and have it available for sale in 2024.
“We’re also excited to introduce a new machine category to our electric lineup, the DD25 electric compactor,” said Gallant. “This is our first foray into a different line other than excavators and loaders.” The DD25 Electric is 2.5-ton compact double-drum asphalt compactor. It is designed as a zero-exhaust emission solution for small scale projects including street repairs and patching, parking lots, and driveways.
The unit is suited for sensitive or urban environments with strict emission regulations and for organizations looking to meet their own sustainability goals. Zero tailpipe emissions also mean a cleaner and more enjoyable work environment for operators, site teams and passers-by.
The electric driveline of the DD25 Electric is based on the same proven architecture and components found on Volvo CE’s ECR25 Electric compact excavator and L25 Electric compact wheel loader that first launched in 2020.
Expected to operate for a full shift on a single charge depending upon the type of job and intensity of the work cycle, the machine comes with an integrated on-board charger which enables charging from 0 to 100% in as little as three hours, depending on ac power level. With an optional 48-Vdc fast charger this can be achieved in a little over an hour, and this also offers a practical solution to top-up the machine’s charge during lunch breaks.
The DD25 Electric offers 24 kW of available power, 30% more than the conventional Volvo DD25B. The result is a more-responsive machine in terms of speed and vibrations, which performs better on grade and better at high elevations, when compared to a diesel machine which loses power as altitude increases. And with maintenance-free bearings, no motor oil, and no engine air filters to deal with, it adds up to a lower cost of ownership and higher production for the machine, said machine specialist John Rouse.
“We did have to make a few updates to the hydraulic system for the electric version of the DD25. For the most part, it’s similar to the diesel version of the machine. Through the development we pinpointed all our losses and did everything we could there to save as much battery power as possible. And we have a lot up our sleeve for the future, in our investigation for electric machines,” said Rouse.
“We’re only in the beginning stages of this journey,” added Gallant. “If you step back and really look at what we’re doing, the key to success is going to be energy management, not only on the machines but on the sites. So doing only efficient, value-added work, and doing it in the most efficient way possible. Getting more out of our hydraulics, more out the machines, more out of every kilowatt is going to be key to making this successful.
“If we are wasteful with the energy, then we’re not going to have the duty cycles we want. We’re not going to have the efficiency and the productivity gains that we envision these technologies could bring to the table. So to me, hydraulics is a key technology. Hydraulic efficiency, hydraulic advancements, and electrical and powertrain enhancements are keys to making this work and getting our energy efficiency much, much higher.”
Volvo CE’s view into the future of the construction industry doesn’t stop with electric. The company will also display autonomous concepts, the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell articulated hauler, a remote-controlled unit and other systems to help customers reach their own efficiency and carbon reduction goals.
The Volvo booth will also display the company’s next series of excavators, with a model unveiled the morning the show opens, and an upgraded L350 wheel loader. Tried-and-true Volvo excavators, wheel loaders, haulers and other products will also be on display with product experts ready to answer attendees’ questions.
Inside the Solutions Hall, attendees will be able to engage with experts about services and technology that can be tailored to the way they do business now and well into the future. Examples include site solutions that give customers tailored recommendations for their fleet; and ActiveCare Direct, Volvo’s telematics machine monitoring and reporting service that provides proactive fleet intelligence to save customers time and money on diagnosing machine issues.
For those unable to attend Conexpo 2023 in person, Volvo CE is also hosting a virtual experience. Online visitors can watch new product launches, experience machine walkarounds, and interact with Volvo experts. “Whether someone joins us in Las Vegas or virtually, we have a great show planned for them with a mix of machines and services, hands-on opportunities and educational sessions — and I’m confident it will be both enlightening and fun,” said Stephen Roy.