Volvo Penta, Gradall team on e-excavator concept
By Mike Brezonick15 March 2023
Gradall has unveiled an electrified concept model of its multipurpose, highway speed XL 4100 V wheeled excavator, powered by Volvo Penta’s electric driveline, at ConExpo. The zero-emissions concept EL41H4, is on display at the Gradall booth (W41500). The development exemplifies evolution of the two companies’ long-standing partnership, as well as Volvo Penta’s ability to act as a full system supplier of the electromobility technology.
The concept machine is powered entirely by two Volvo Penta batteries, matched to the duty cycle of the excavator, which fit neatly into the existing engine bay. The electric driveline system from Volvo Penta also includes the complete high voltage system — electric motors, gearboxes, inverters, junction boxes and cabling.
“We were looking for a major power solutions provider with a good track record to partner with,” said Mike Popovich, president of Gradall. “We see Volvo Penta as a power partner rather than an engine supplier – this is a turnkey solution to them. We didn’t want to be in a situation where we’re mixing and matching from 10 different suppliers and trying to make it all work seamlessly. Volvo Penta’s full systems approach and expertise, together with proven Volvo Group technology, was the ideal solution for us. This is a natural progression of our existing partnership towards where we’re both heading in the future.”
The partnership between Volvo Penta and Gradall began in 2014 when Volvo Penta became the exclusive supplier of 5 and 8 L Tier 4 final engines for Gradall’s diesel-powered telescopic boom excavators.
With growing interest from Gradall’s municipality customers for quieter, cleaner solutions that meet intensifying sustainability demands and regulations, collaborative discussions between Gradall and Volvo Penta began in spring 2022.
“Expanding our partnership with Gradall into electromobility is an exciting development for us,” says Hannes Norrgren, president of Volvo Penta’s Industrial Business Unit. “This is our first electrification project in a construction application, representing another milestone in Volvo Penta’s electromobility journey and aligning with our sustainability ambitions.”
Unlike a traditional hydraulic excavator, Gradall’s highway speed solution icorporates a telescopic boom mounted next to a separate cab sitting to the rear of a road-going chassis that allows the machine to be independently dispatched to many locations throughout the workday, rather than requiring a low loader for transport.
With a hydraulic system powered by a Volvo Penta-supplied electric machine power take-off (EM PTO), this concept machine can use battery power to transport its own excavator. The system will deliver 94 kWh of energy, and with the increased likelihood of the EL41H4 operator returning to the yard between jobs or for lunch, the potential is high for opportunity charging, or reaching full capacity in under 45 minutes from a 150 kW charger.
The highway speed design – and its suitability for work in environments where knuckle boom models may not be the ideal fit for operation, such as under overhead obstructions like power lines – means the concept offers the potential for application to other designs in the Gradall portfolio. Currently, the EL41H4 is still a concept machine and further testing and development is required before the next steps can be decided, the company said.
Following its appearance at ConExpo and at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) display at the National Mall in Washington, DC in May, the EL41H4 will undergo extensive testing and verification to optimize it for the application.
See Volvo Penta at ConExpo booth F8926