MARKET GUIDE: Electric Compacts

After a flurry of product launches at the recent Bauma show, Peter Anderson reviews the widespread availability of battery-powered compact equipment

Two market leaders in electric compact construction equipment, JCB and Volvo, chose not to exhibit at the Bauma show. JCB has a growing range of battery-powered products, including a mini excavator, an industrial telescopic forklift, a telescopic handler and a site dumper, together with infrastructure modules such as mobile battery packs.

Volvo offers three battery-powered mini-excavators, together with two compact wheel loaders. The small loaders/tool carriers have recently been upgraded with an improved 6kW on-board charger, which is said to cut charging time in half. When used with a CEE standard 400V/16A socket, it will now take six hours to achieve a full charge. More powerful off-board 9.6kW and 17.3kW chargers are available, to substantially reduce the recharging time.

Case, another non-Bauma exhibitor, recently launched a 1.5t battery-powered mini excavator together with a larger model in the wings, with a battery-powered, full-sized backhoe loader thought to be entering production for the North American market.

News from the Bauma show includes Manitou launching its first battery-powered compact telehandler, the MT25e model, which offers a maximum capacity of 2.5t and a maximum lift height of height of 6m. There were also half a dozen or so new battery-powered compact wheel loaders introduced, including two models from Kubota. In addition, Komatsu previewed a fully-electric compact wheel loader, which replaces hydraulics with Moog electric actuators.


When it comes to battery-powered compact excavators, in terms of machine size, Hitachi is clearly ahead of the game. Although their Japanese-designed ZX23U-6EB mini-excavator has yet to go into production, European customers have access to the battery-powered ZE85 short swing midi-excavator. This was developed by the Germany firm KTEG/Kiesel and is the largest battery-powered conventional tracked excavator currently available. The relationship with Kiesel has recently been further strengthen, resulting in the new Hitachi-manufactured, 5.3-tonne ZX55U-6EB short swing mini-excavator. This has a battery capacity of 39kWh and includes a 22kW on-board charger, which also allows the machine to work while being charged.


Hydrema introduced their innovative 6-tonne capacity, DT6 battery-powered compact dump truck at the Bauma show.


Of all the exhibitors at Bauma, Wacker Neuson had the broadest and most developed range of battery-powered construction equipment on display. Product launches at the show included the RD28e double drum roller and their first electric telehandler, the TH412e model, which offers a lift height of 4.5m. In addition, the third generation of the WL20e compact wheel loader was unveiled, a key product line for Continental European markets. These join a range that includes a battery-powered site dumper and a pair of mini-excavators, together with associated tools, such as compaction rammers and vibratory plates. News from the stand was the imminent availability of battery packs for mobile recharging.


Compact equipment specialist Yanmar has recently made a significant strategic investment in electric driveline research and development, more about this elsewhere in this issue. One of the first results of this is the development of a 4.5-tonne V8e compact wheel loader, powered by a 40kWh battery with 11kW of on-board charging available.

Also unveiled at Bauma was the battery-powered SV17e mini excavator, rated at 23.5kWh gross electric power, with 19kWh of usable power, driving an open-centre hydraulic system that features a load-sensing pump. In addition to the standard 230V charger, there is also a 400V fast charging option available which provides up to 4.5 hours of operation.


Thwaites showcased what they describe as an advanced concept of a battery-powered, 3-tonne capacity site dumper, which is due to go into full production in 2023.

It is powered by four 5.75kWh maintenance free, long-life, dry cell lithium-ion batteries, operating at 48V, providing a total 23kWh. These power two electric motors, one for traction and another driving the hydraulic services. The battery pack is expected last an eight-hour shift of normal site operations. The on-board 3.4kW charger can fill the battery pack in eight hours. Optional off-board chargers rated at 7kW single-phase and 22kW three-phase provide recharge times of four and two hours respectively.


Following the launch of the E10e mini, Bobcat has extended the range with the 1.9-tonne E19e model, powered by a 17.3kWh battery pack.

However, the technological star of their show was the first public appearance in Europe of the all-electric T7X tracked skid steer loader, which does not have any form of hydraulic system. In addition to electrically-powered tracks, it features electric actuators to operate the working equipment. Without the wasteful stage of converting electrical energy into hydraulic power, an all-electric machine should be able to deliver more torque. The T7X features a 62kW lithium-ion battery, which provides four hours of continuous operation.


Mecalac displayed a trio of battery-powered machines, including the new es1000 wheel loader, which features slewing working equipment, together with the 11-tonne e12 wheeled excavator with a slewing cab and working equipment. The third battery-powered machine is a new mainstream 6-tonne capacity, cabbed site dumper.

It is understood that, instead of using the more common lithium-ion batteries, Mecalac uses LiFePO4 lithium iron phosphate battery technology that offers a longer working life, allowing up to three times more charge cycles. Macalac is also introducing their M-Power mobile external 300kWh battery pack, to recharge machines without the need for mains electricity or a generator.


Alongside their all-new range of conventional diesel-powered mini excavators, Hyundai showcased a prototype of their 18E battery-powered mini. The 18E has an operating weight of 1863kg when configured with a canopy, or just over two tonnes with a full cab. The machine is powered by a 20.7kWh battery pack, which is said to deliver enough charge for a full day’s operation in normal use. When using a standard 220V site supply, the recharging time is 5.6 hours. Equipped with a 1800mm mono boom and a 960mm dipper arm, the maximum digging depth is 2405mm and the machine has a digging reach of 4110mm.


Caterpillar has entered the battery-powered construction machinery market with a full-sized excavator and wheel loader, together with the 301.9 mini-excavator and the 906 compact wheel loader. These use a newly-developed range of Caterpillar 48V, 300V and 600V lithium-ion batteries, which indicates a full range of machines on the drawing board. Capable of running up to eight hours on a single charge, or up to five hours of continuous trenching, the 301.9 mini is powered by a 48V, 32kWh battery. The 906 compact loader is equipped with a 300V, 64kWh battery, which that enables the machine to work up to six hours on a single charge.


Bomag is introducing a pair of battery-powered tandem rollers, the BW100ADe-5 and BW120ADe-5 models, which will become commercially available by mid-2023. These compaction machines are complemented by their BT60e electric tamper and a new battery-powered vibratory plate. The new rollers feature two 48V electric motors, one for the travel system and steering, the other for vibration. In travel-only mode, the machines run with only one electric motor, saving energy, topped-up by a braking energy recovery system and can be recharged from a variety of 230V or 400V power sources. A 5-inch monitor displays the key parameters including asphalt temperature, compaction progress and battery status.


Sany showcased their SY19E battery-powered mini excavator, which is due to be launched to the UK market during the first quarter of 2023. The 1.9-tonner features a 10kW electric motor with a gross capacity of 22kW, providing four to six hours of work from a single charge. Sany claims particularly fast recharging times for the battery pack, just 1.5 hours when connected to a suitable DC 400V three-phase supply, or 2.5 hours with a 220V AC supply. I addition to the machine’s control system, the SY19E’s monitor also provides the operator with data on the electric drive system, pre-charging functions and three-phase AC charging.


Doosan previewed the zero-tail swing, battery-powered DX20ZE mini excavator, which will be commercially available during 2023. Now separated from compact equipment specialist Bobcat, this will be their first in-house mass-produced electric mini. It features an in-house developed elctrcal system and components, which includes a 20kWh lithium-ion battery pack. An external quick-charging system restores 80% of the battery power after only one hour, whilst the on-board charger takes six hours to fully fill the battery. Few technical details on the new mini are available, but it ems to share the same 950mm-wide undercarrige of the diesel-powered DX20Z model , which features a maximum digging depth of 2345mm.


Ausa as launched their first battery-powered machines, the D151AEG site dumper and the T164E telescopic handler. Offering a payload of 1500kg, the D151AEG permanent 4WD site dumper features a 7.6 kW electric motor with a maximum peak power of 17.3kW. It can be fully recharged in four or eight hours, depending on the power supply. With 1600kg maximum payload and a maximum lift height of 4m, the T164E telescopic handler has a power rating of 8.4kW, with a peak of 21.2kW. It can be charged by connecting the integrated cable, going from 20% to 80% charge in just over three hours on a 230V supply.



Founded in 1999, Sunward now has a huge global footprint, with machinery interests ranging from construction and mining, through to rail and aviation engineering. Sunward unveiled their 2-tonne SWE20FED mini-excavator, a reduced radius design with a tail swing radius of just 1110mm, which is available with either a canopy or a full cab. Featuring a lithium-ion battery and a three-phase asynchronous electric motor, it is said to provide more than six hours of full working load on a single charge. It can be fast charged from a suitable supply in less than two hours or fully recharged from a 230V supply in seven hours.

This article featured in the January 2023 issue of Earthmovers Magazine

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