Komatsu Develops Electric Wheel Loader

Posted on November 17, 2005

Komatsu Ltd. has developed a wheel loader that is powered by an electric motor, according to reports in the Nikkei Business Daily. The report says the new wheel loader is built on a 3.5-ton chassis and has a bucket capacity of 0.6 cu. m, meaning the experimental machine is similar to the company’s current 37 hp WA50-5 model [not the model show at left].

Because a battery alone cannot support the force needed to lift heavy loads, the loader is equipped with a charge-storage capacitor that supplements the power output of the battery, the article said. Komatsu sees the laoder used in applications such as snow clearance in urban areas. Users are now evaluating the wheel loader and Komatsu said it expects to begin marketing the machine sometime early next year.

At this point, the article said, the price is about double that of a conventional diesel-engine wheel loader, but Komatsu said it hopes via production improvements to limit the price difference to 50% by the time it actually starts selling the loader. Komatsu added it designed the machine so the electric motor can be replaced by a fuel cell at a future date.