Volvo Electric Loader Technology Put to Work in Germany

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Green Resources

A wheel loader charges a pile
The Volvo L25 Electric wheel loader works in Cologne, Germany, on snow and ice removal, road maintenance, and other tasks.

The responsibility for keeping Cologne, Germany’s fourth largest city, looking its best falls to AWB Abfallwirtschaftsbetriebe Cologne GmbH, which is using the first Volvo L25 Electric wheel loader delivered to a job site in the country.

Its work in street cleaning and waste disposal ensure that not only is this cathedral city kept clean and safe, but that the surrounding Rhine area and its network of highways are kept open and safe for travelers all over the region. It takes 700 employees to keep some 2,000 kilometers of main roads, 600 kilometers of access roads, and 500 kilometers of residential streets free from snow and ice.

For such a substantial task during the most challenging months of the year, AWB needed a partner that could play a vital role in its operations–one that could not only work no matter the conditions, but also one that would limit its environmental impact with zero emissions. The electric wheel loader was picked for the task because it produces zero exhaust fumes, low noise, and low vibrations, making it an ideal solution for work inside a depot, without the need for a ventilation system.

Sustainability has been a core objective at AWB for some time and the company is recognized as a pioneer of environmentally responsible initiatives within its industry. In addition, the company regards itself as a partner to the City of Cologne and is committed to continuously improving the quality of life for its citizens. As such, care is always taken to only employ vehicles and machines that are low emission.

“The wheel loader is an important milestone in our journey to introduce more electric mobility at AWB Cologne and is certainly fulfilling our expectations,” says Dr. Bert Schröer, head of mobility and sustainability at AWB Cologne. “We are managing well with the electric power–even in the cold. Capacity, handling, and shovel size–everything fits. So far, there have been no aspects that would make us question our decision. It was definitely the right choice.”

Its main task within the 1,700-square-meter depot is to feed the screw conveyor which transports the material to the silos, which in turn fills AWB’s grit spreaders. “If the wheel loader doesn’t transport the grit to the silos, then there would be no grit on the streets of Cologne,” says Schröer. “Maximum reliability and availability are therefore an absolute must.”

As the wheel loader is in continuous operation over three shifts throughout the winter service period, a four-year service agreement was signed. This includes the maintenance of the machine and its components. Fast-charging infrastructure was developed at AWB’s depot to enable the L25 Electric to work independently.

During the summer months, the L25 Electric will still be in demand when it is deployed as an all-around loader, providing support for AWB’s transport works across its 36,000-square-meter territory, from transporting arboreal waste to loading a variety of bulky goods.