Are Electric Loaders The Future Of Construction?

Doosan Bobcat unveiled its all-electric skid steer loader the Bobcat SX7 at an expo in Las Vegas this year almost six decades after the company introduced the world’s first ever compact skid steer model. As expected by the senior management of the company, the SX7 was an instant hit, not only because the machine was sleek and aesthetically very attractive, but also because it had a lot to boast about and also it carries the legendary BOBCAT name.

Scott Park of Doosan Bobcat stressed on the fact that the company has always been pushing the parameters of all the machines that they produce and that it was that reason that Bobcat is always at the forefront of many heavy machine advancements. There is no question about the fact that Bobcat is and has always been committed to innovations that are practical and relevant that has helped the industry to make huge strides from one aspect or another and the SX7 attests to that fact.

The Bobcat SX7 utilises a lithium-ion battery (60.5kWh) and consists of electric driven motors for all mechanical functions and for tilt or lift functions the machine uses ball screw actuators. Bobcat’s engineers’ stand their ground when they say that the electric power train and the 60.5Kwh battery generate enable the machine to perform better than they had expected given the fact that the machine delivers torque instantly and by 300 % higher than conventional skid steers.

The SX7 is indeed a powerful loader that brings sustainability to new heights with zero emissions, low heat and almost silent operation without compromising on performance. The machine totally outperforms all fossil fuel-powered equivalents. Other notable features include the machines smoother operation as vibrations are much lower which enhances the comfort level of the operator and coupled with the almost silent mechanisms in comparison to conventional combustion engines which are noisy, the SX7 is an exceedingly desirable model.

Joel Honeyman, the vice president for Doosan Bobcat’s Global Innovation faction states that “Bobcat was the inventor of the very first skid-steer loader and it was almost a duty for the team to reinvent the machine from scratch and the SX7 is exactly that. According to Honeyman the machine is capable of maintaining power for about 8 hours (this measure varies according to the applications, heavier tasks drain power quicker), nevertheless, this amount of time is sufficient for operators to perform a full day’s work with the machine. To obtain a full charge, the machine requires an approximate 10 hours of charging which could be done overnight.

Although the latest model is currently being presented as a prototype, Doosan Bobcat is moving the SX7 towards commercialisation as soon as possible (within the next 12 months if all goes well) quoted Honeyman. Meanwhile, companies such as CASE CE moved towards operator experience and machine capability features to remain relevant and are also working on their fully electric models that is expected to make its way into the market soon enough.

CASE’s B series skid steer loaders for hire from construction equipment rental companies are among the most popular skid steers in the market that are taken on hire along with Kubota and Komatsu models which are also highly popular.  Most construction companies these days prefer to hire equipment such as skid steers due to the fact that these machines are costly and buying them has a significant impact on a construction company’s cash flow.

To avoid fund flow issues or buying equipment on loans (which carry borrowing cost) and also owning machines such skid steers (which carry ownership costs) construction companies are resorting to hire these machines which make it not only cost effective for them, but also reduce the complexities that come with owning their own fleets.

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