As global decarbonization efforts continue, making cities and city projects more efficient will be key to reaching zero emission goals. It’s unsurprising, given the amount of work that takes place in constructing and maintaining cities, so construction projects are an ideal starting point for this process. Technology to support this shift is already present, and with future developments just waiting around the bend, this undertaking will certainly pick up speed.
While new buildings need to follow specific codes in terms of energy efficiency, this has also been extended to the machines used in constructing them. A truly circular economy is only made possible by reducing emissions at all process stages.
Smaller construction vehicles such as mini excavators and loaders have already been shown to operate on par, if not better, than their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts, and sale numbers show this. The next step is replicating this spreading success in the 10–20-ton market before moving on to the 20-ton plus segment, which requires vast power. It’s a move that’s certainly needed; construction machinery is responsible for around 400 megatons of CO2 per year.
Electrification can happen in stages
A common misconception is that vehicle fleet electrification is an “all or nothing” process, though the reality is far removed from that. Shifting from diesel to electric power comes with plenty of benefits but also requires thought, planning, and testing before the electrification process can begin. However, from the data available relating to sub-20-ton vehicles, embarking on the electrification journey is easier.
As explained in a McKinsey report, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) can offer 70-75% higher tank-to-wheel energy efficiency since the power goes straight to the motors. With the way the technology is developing, hydraulic and brake fluids can be removed, which reduces costs via increased efficiency and reduced malfunction risk. In the case of braking, many BEVs will have an energy recovery system that charges the battery when the brakes are engaged, replenishing the battery during operation.
In the case of larger applications, some OEMs electrify different parts of machines before engaging in a complete switch. This increases efficiency and allows manufacturers and users to collect data and ensure the machine’s parts perform well before replacing the power source.
These larger machines will require higher operating voltages, which means internal components must operate within new safety parameters and additional precautions taken when handling the battery. However, increased voltage is undoubtedly the future of the EV movement, as it’s vital to unlocking reduced charging time and longer uptime. The higher voltage also increases efficiency, which you can read here.
Setting the stage for the future
Going electric removes dependency on fluctuating fuel prices, and BEVs don’t idle, saving power discharge and resulting in extended range or uptime. The greater controllability and increased traction control lead to less time spent training new users, paving the way for significant cost savings across operations and maintenance.
Furthermore, the lack of emissions and silence with which BEVs operate makes for a healthier work environment for site workers, as they’re not breathing in toxic fumes and can communicate far better, too. Commuters and residents benefit from these improved conditions, especially if work continues until later, allowing projects to be completed faster.
The digital aspect of operations will also be critical in amplifying efficiency, as energy can be conserved during low-load use or maximized during high-peak actions. Digitization extends to technologies such as remote and autonomous driving, telematics, big data, and the industrial Internet of Things. All these will drive safety, performance, and functionality to new heights, all through the power of electrification.
In Xerotech’s experience, the battery supplied to Advanced Control for its Elcavator project, while still in the prototype stage, shows plenty of promise. The Hibernium® battery designed for this application provides 634V and 190kWh, and with individual motors for each axis, the vehicle is 40% more efficient than a diesel-powered excavator.
How to start electrifying operations today
Electrifying city construction projects can become the ground zero for how to electrify construction projects across urban and rural areas. However, extensive planning will undoubtedly be required to ensure even construction projects where power and services are close at hand function to their total capacity.
Having a functional and safe battery inside your machines and adequate charging infrastructure that can withstand the dust and dirt that are part and parcel of construction site conditions are ideal starting points. Additionally, companies must consider facility upgrades, energy storage devices to reduce grid dependency, and vehicle recovery if towing is ever needed.
Observing each application’s drive and duty cycles will also go a long way toward determining how you’ll want the battery to perform for the given application. The drive cycle relates to the vehicle’s purpose, including speed, power, and starts and stops. The duty cycle is the average operating time duration, distance driven with and without loads, and operating cycles per period.
It’s critical to identify a battery manufacturer that can supply you with batteries for the entire fleet of vehicles you have and plan to get. Xerotech’s Hibernium® platform is modular, which means that it can be scaled to power mini excavators and LHD trucks in equal measure. Voltages can be as low as 30V and as high as 1,000V, while power and cell chemistries can also be chosen to suit the application. This adaptability and scalability are highly useful as they ensure faster time to market, as there are no recurring engineering and design costs to factor in either.
It’s an ideal scenario for construction companies, as our partners can leverage our battery technology for one-off prototype projects or entire fleet electrification per their needs. Once your electrification project is ready to meet the world, we also factor in long-term support, telematics, and industry-leading cross-marketing opportunities.
Get in touch with a Xerotech team member today to find out how we can help you reach your electrification and zero emissions goals together.
Xerotech is an award-winning battery technology company solving one of our generation’s most significant challenges: industrial electrification.
Driven by a shared vision of a fully electric future, our talented team is making an impact on a global scale as Xerotech provides the first truly credible path to zero emissions and enables the electrification of machines that were previously too low-volume to be economically electrified.
Our Hibernium® battery pack platform adapts to the bespoke needs of your vehicle or application. With Hibernium®, you can choose your desired or preferred energy content, operating voltage range, physical dimensions, and even battery cell chemistry.
There are no design or engineering costs, even for one-off prototyping projects, making this solution one of the only viable options for low-volume, high-diversity projects.
The electrification of heavy-duty machinery is now available to every OEM and Integrator.