Komatsu Micro Excavator Features Swappable Batteries

If cars and trucks can clean up with electrification, why not construction machinery? And why not? The same type of particulates are released with traditional internal combustion engine machinery. 

While it won’t be easy to create electric heavy equipment, the industry is starting with micro excavators. Komatsu has battery-powered equipment that was first released last year. Now it has added a unique feature that will add versatility and efficiency to its PC01e excavator. 

Honda and Komatsu have engineered swappable batteries for construction equipment

Komatsu electric excavator with Honda battery pack
Komatsu electric excavator with Honda battery pack | Komatsu

It has engineered swappable batteries into the PC01e. The micro excavator will use the Honda Mobile Power Pack to make swapping out batteries easy. Teaming up with Honda eliminates the need to develop its own battery technology. 

Honda’s Mobile Power Pack already powers some two- and three-wheel scooters. Now it will begin powering equipment like this cool Komatsu machine. These excavators are used mostly for pipe-laying, landscaping, plus agricultural and livestock work. 

Komatsu and Honda want a “battery-sharing system for the civil engineering and construction industry.”

Komatsu electric excavator showing the Honda battery pack
Komatsu electric excavator with Honda battery pack | Komatsu

Maybe the larger picture in anticipation of machinery going the same way as cars and trucks is what Honda and Komatsu have planned. The two companies want to begin a “battery-sharing system for the civil engineering and construction industry.” So they see this change to electrification as they put plans into place to provide this battery service.

It also could be an indication that at least for its initial foray into electric construction equipment, that they anticipate short cycles for these batteries. Just as the range has slowly ramped up with vehicles, we can expect that early electrification won’t have the duration between charges.

So, having an easily replaceable battery queued up doesn’t waste time. It also lessens the “range anxiety” of early electric machinery. Just as we saw with the GM EV-1 and Nissan Leaf, the equipment industry has to start somewhere. This is the beginning of another change to electrification, this time in the construction industry.

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