Case 580 EV electric backhoe loader is powered by a 480-volt, 90-kW, lithium-ion battery pack (weighing 1,300 pounds) that can be charged in eight hours by any 220-volt/three-phase connection. A single battery charge will support most eight-hour workdays, says Case. The battery separately powers the drivetrain and hydraulic motors, resulting in hydraulic breakout forces equal to diesel-powered machines, says the company, and improved performance during simultaneous loader and drivetrain operation.
Electrification was performed in collaboration with Green Machine Equipment and motion and fluid controls specialist Moog, says Case, as well as with direct input from utilities and other businesses focused on converting portions of their fleets to electric backhoes. The electric machine has been under development for more than a year.
Case also partnered with Michelin to fit the 580 EV with low-rolling-resistance CrossGrip tires that feature a special rubber compound and patented non-directional tread design. According to Case, the four-season tire provides 196 tread blocks per wheel rotation, helping to reduce vibration, providing enhanced handling, and a high-load capacity for operation on a variety of surface conditions.
With the 580 EV, the company is targeting utilities and utility contractors, as well as government and public works operations that might need help satisfying initiatives aimed at lowering emissions and reducing noise in public areas. Many contractors in these sectors either drive or trailer these machines back to a central shop or yard at the end of the day, says Case, making it easier to plug into existing electrical infrastructure, or to establish charging stations in a controlled yard. Two units have been sold to utilities in the United States: New York State Electric & Gas and Rochester Gas and Electric (subsidiaries of Avangrid) and National Grid.
Case says it has the capability to produce additional units throughout 2020 before ramping up production to meet greater demand in 2021.
The 580 EV will be sold at a higher initial price than diesel-powered backhoe loaders, but Case expects that average fleets will see a payback on that premium in about five years. Based on a machine’s workload, Case estimates that the 580 EV could save fleets as much as 90 percent in annual vehicle service and maintenance costs, when taking into account the reduction/elimination of diesel fuel, engine oil, diesel exhaust fluid, regular preventive maintenance, and long-term engine upkeep/maintenance (and the associated labor and downtime savings).
According to Case, the 580 EV retains features of diesel-powered Case backhoes, such as ProControl, which allows for precise boom movement and placement, as well as Comfort Steer, which improves steering while working in tight quarters or in truck-loading operations. The machine also employs the new enhanced joystick controls used in the most recent generation of Case N Series backhoes, as well as in-cab amenities, such as premium seat options and Bluetooth radio. The 580 EV also incorporates the Case SiteWatch telematics system.