Hitachi To Introduce Battery Powered Excavator

Posted on June 28, 2006

Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. will introduce a 7-ton excavator later this month powered by a lithium-ion battery, according to the Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper. However, the new concept will come at a price, roughly double the cost of an engine-powered model.

According to Hitachi, the excavator emits no exhaust gases when it is operated while its carbon dioxide emissions are less than 50% of those of existing excavators. The energy costs of the new excavator are also 60-70% lower than conventional equipment.

The new excavator was jointly developed with Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems Co., another Hitachi Ltd. group firm. Apparently expectations for the excavator are small at this point, as the company said it hopes to sell 10-20 units of excavator in the first year, marketing them at about 12 million yen (about $103,000), or twice the price of existing models. However, because the new excavator can cut electricity costs by recycling the energy produced while braking, the price gap between it and existing models would be recouped if it is operated for 1,200 hours a year, the company said.

The company thinks it will be possible to lower the price of the new equipment to 9 million yen ($77,400) or so in five years.