The electric 19C-1 E-TEC is able to operate quietly near houses at night.

Electric avenue

JCB is extending and updating its compact plant range, and has also developed an electric mini excavator. Nick Johnson reports from its World Headquarters.

With the need to operate machinery ever more quietly with increasingly low emissions in urban areas, there is much more interest in electric plant. And JCB is the latest major construction equipment manufacturer to reveal an electric mini excavator. Officially launched at the company’s World Headquarters in Staffordshire, the 19C-1 E-TEC is its first electric excavator, and is derived from the recently introduced 1,943kg 19C-1 mini.

The 19C-1 E-TEC has advanced automotive battery cells.

JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said, “In producing an electric JCB mini excavator, we are

offering our customers a practical and affordable solution for applications that demand zero emissions and quiet operation.” Due for launch towards the end of this year, the machine will enable hirers to offer a model for work without emissions inside buildings, basements, tunnels and underground.

Interestingly, whereas one other prominent manufacturer has produced a prototype all-electric mini with electro-mechanical actuators in place of hydraulic cylinders, JCB has retained a standard load-sensing hydraulic system. The big change is the replacement of the 11.7 kW (15.7hp) Perkins 403D-07 engine with a 48V electrical drive line, with an electric motor and modern batteries.

Self-contained power system

The motor is powered by three 104Ah Lithium-ion battery packs, providing a storage capacity of 312Ah (15kWh). These utilise advanced NMC Lithium-ion cells used in the latest cars, in a rugged housing designed to withstand the rigours of off-highway construction use. The self-contained power system means there is no requirement for an electrical power connection or cable during operation.

The 19C-1 E-TEC comes with a standard 230V input and an on- board charger that delivers a six-hour recharging capability. There is a 110V option and buyers can also select a fast-charge variant that cuts the time to reach full charge to only 2.5 hours. JCB says the motor instantly delivers greater torque than the standard machine’s


diesel engine, and contends that the electric mini gives the same digging performance, aided by the retention of the Bosch Rexroth load-sensing hydraulic system.

As well as being ‘fume free’, the conventional tail swing 19C-1 E-TEC scores on quietness. Its quoted external noise level is only 7dBA, and so is approximately five times quieter than its diesel counterpart. Like the conventional machine, it is fitted with the same adjustable undercarriage and choice of digging equipment, to provide a maximum digging depth of 2,576mm with the longer 1,100mm dipper arm. The ability to handle a range of powered attachments makes it an ideal base carrier for demolition and refurbishment projects.

The 19C-1 E-TEC will be launched with the same ROPS/TOPS and FOG (falling object guard) certified canopy that is used on other new-generation JCB compact excavators. So far there is no remote control option, but this could be added in the future for safer operation during hazardous indoor demolition work.

Aimed at the tool hire market

JCB also highlighted the latest addition to its new generation range of diesel-engined mini excavators, the 15C-1. Aimed at the tool hire market, it had its industry launch at the Executive Hire Show in February. The conventional tail swing machine shares a similar design, with the same choice of digging equipment, as the 16C-1 introduced last year. Both machines have an 11.7kW (15.7hp) Perkins diesel engine, although the 15C-1 uses a gear pump, while the hydraulic system on the 16C-1 has a variable displacement piston pump.

The 15C-1 uses a shorter fixed undercarriage, with single speed tracking, long pitch tracks and mechanical track tensioners. The higher specification 16C-1 has a variable width undercarriage and twin speed tracking motors. Both models can be supplied with either a canopy

The 1.5-tonne 15C-1 has been developed to appeal to tool hire customers.

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