Semco is introducing a hybrid version of its highly popular TB 216 mini excavator to test the market and determine future demand which may pave the way for hybrid versions of other models in the near future.
Excavators powered by electricity have been used in Europe for some time. About ten years ago in Paris, Takeuchi exhibited their fully electric model TB016. However, the high cost of batteries at that time (and still today) has inhibited the general market acceptance of these models.
Takeuchi has decided that the time is now right to introduce an electric hybrid excavator where both the diesel engine and an electric drive have been incorporated into the design. The Takeuchi TB216H hybrid excavator introduces the concept to Australia in the sub- 2 tonne excavator category.
Semco’s Graham Murphy said, “The key benefit of the electric drive system is there is no noise and even more importantly, no carbon dioxide emissions. This means there are no toxic fumes and no pollution. And the machine can work relatively silently and indefinitely in a building basement area which otherwise would need complicated and expensive ventilation systems.
“This will be an attraction for contractors who work on inner city demolitions and basement excavations which are set to become more important as the value of residential properties increases in high density areas of the major cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Other benefits of electric operation are the removal of the need to have fuel and other volatile materials on the worksite which may be an issue in some areas.”
The TB216H system allows the diesel engine to be used to propel the machine into the job site or to working range and then connected by a capillary line to an on-site 415v three phase power outlet or generator set. The electric component of the machine is a completely independent system whereby the operator switches from diesel to electric and this action redirects the hydraulic flow to be activated by the electric motor.
The electric drive motor is also able to be added as a retrofit and is installed in the area occupied by the counterweight on the model TB 216.
Benefit for rental companies
The introduction of compact hybrid excavators is of interest to rental companies that are looking for a technological edge over their competitors and the first rental company that may take up the challenge will be seen as providing market leadership.
“We have learned of the potential for hybrid excavators for rental companies from overseas and from some interest expressed by prominent local rental companies. Rental company representatives have been overseas and witnessed this emerging trend. They have seen the technology exhibited in Germany and other models shown at European trade equipment expositions and rental-specific shows.
“Some rental companies see electric hybrid power as an opportunity to differentiate their equipment offering and may wish to use this technology as a strategic benefit for their organisation”, Graham said.