Although the introduction of electric vehicles in the industrial and agricultural fields is more complicated than in cars due to the high energy requirements of heavy machinery, some manufacturers do not hesitate to take the first steps towards such electrification.
CASE, the construction equipment company, has recently introduced Project Zeus, the all-new CASE 580 EV all-electric backhoe loader. The CASE 580 EV offers similar power and performance to its diesel-engine counterpart but with lower operating and maintenance costs, zero emissions, and significantly quieter operation.
While every application will be different based on its workload, it is estimated that the 580 EV could save fleets as much as 90% in annual vehicle service and maintenance costs over an equivalent machine with a diesel engine.
The CASE 580 EV is powered by a 480 V, 90 kWh capacity lithium-ion battery, which adds 590 kilograms of weight to the package and allows the vehicle to operate for 8 hours. The battery powers the transmission and hydraulic motors separately, resulting in hydraulic starting powers equal to diesel-powered models, but with improved performance during simultaneous charger and transmission operation. Recharging this backhoe will take about eight hours with any 220-volt/three-phase source.
This type of machine can be specially adapted to electrification thanks to its versatility and the variety of work it performs. It also significantly reduces the noise levels and emissions in the workplace, improving the working environment for both the operator and other workers.
For the rest, the CASE electric backhoe offers the same comforts and tools as diesel-powered CASE backhoes with features such as the ProControl system for more precise movements of the boom and placement (with new joysticks in the controls) as well as Comfort Steer, which significantly improves steering while working in tight spaces. It also has a more comfortable cabin with better visibility, which can equip premium seats or radio with Bluetooth.
CASE plans to deliver two units already and expects to produce more loose units throughout 2020, with a view to more serious production by 2021.