Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) is pilot testing its L25 Electric compact wheel loader with a customer in Germany.
Leick Baumschulen, a German tree farm and landscaping company based 30 minutes from the Volvo CE factory in Konz, is the first customer in the world to test the new “green” machine. A Volvo electric compact excavator was recently tested at a Paris golf course.
The company has been a Volvo customer for 34 years and uses compact wheel loaders daily for a wide range of jobs, from pallet handling and loading material to grading and sweeping.
“This variety of tasks makes it the perfect real-world scenario for us to test our new electric compact wheel loader together with our customer,” says Paolo Mannesi, global compact wheel loader product manager for Volvo CE.
Having already invested in electric golf carts to show customers around its large yard and display area, Leick Baumschulen wanted to explore the advantages of electrification for its fleet of construction equipment, too.
Batteries, electric motors
The L25 Electric is powered by lithium-ion batteries that cover an eight-hour working shift with one single charge in the machine’s regular applications, which include light infrastructure work, gardening, landscaping, and agriculture.
The L25 also incorporates two dedicated electric motors—one for the drivetrain and one of the hydraulics. Decoupling the subsystems has led to higher efficiency across the entire machine, Volvo says.
Leick Baumschulen operators’ first impressions of the L25 Electric are that it functions much like a conventional diesel-powered machine, but with the benefits of electrification.
“It’s a product with the right performance and great design,” says Christoph Leick, co-owner of Leick Baumschulen. “The machine operates like a conventional wheel loader, but with improved comfort for the driver and surroundings; it feels similar when it comes to power but is quieter, has less vibration, less maintenance, and is emission-free locally,”
Low noise level
For Leick Baumschulen, the wheel loader’s quiet operation is among its biggest advantages.
“We also operate the machine to transport plants in our show area where customers are coming in and out. With this machine, it is more comfortable for our customers and our employees as the noise level is much lower,” Leick says. “This means we can keep our conversation and discussions going with our customers when the machine is operating nearby.”
Another benefit the company has found is ease of maintenance.
“The machine requires less maintenance as it has no engine—we don’t need to check the engine oil and coolant every day or refill fuel,” Leick says. “We simply charge it overnight, which is very easy. You just need to plug one end of the charger into the machine as well as the other into a normal household socket. That’s it. There’s actually nothing you can do wrong. It’s easy and safe.”
Volvo’s Mannesi adds, “We are really satisfied with the machine performance when it comes to the power, the very low noise level, and driver comfort. In some areas it even exceeded our expectations.”
Loader on sale mid-2020
The machine will be available from mid-2020 when Volvo CE will stop the development of new diesel engine-based L20 to L28 compact wheel loader models.
The L25 Electric will be produced in Konz, Germany.