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JCB sparks huge interest with its first ever electric digger

JCB has developed its first ever electric digger in response to customer demands for a zero emissions machine which can work indoors, underground and close to people in urban areas.

The 1.9 tonne mini excavator can be charged by simply plugging it into a standard 230-volt domestic electricity supply. Once fully charged, it is ready to put in a full normal working day on the building site – digging with the same speed and power as its diesel counterpart. Super-fast charging will also be available at launch, slashing the charging time in half.

The innovative product goes on sale at the end of the year after being developed in secret at the company’s Staffordshire, UK headquarters. Its development has been spearheaded by company chairman Lord Bamford who has heralded its arrival as a “real breakthrough” for the construction sector. 

Lord Bamford said: “JCB has been at the forefront of developing innovative, low emission, diesel powered construction equipment for decades. In fact, thanks to our clean diesel technology, typical JCB machines will be pretty close to zero emissions by next year.

“However, with urbanisation, machines are operating more closely to people as well as digging underground, indoors, near hospitals and in food production environments. As a result, there is a new zero emissions sector emerging and it’s emerging very quickly. It’s for this reason we have put ourselves at the forefront of alternative power technologies and developed the first ever electric JCB digger.”

The machine – known as the 19C-1 E-Tec – will not only deliver zero emissions, it will also be the quietest in the JCB range. This means contractors can work after normal hours in urban streets, around hospitals and close to schools without disturbing people. The machine also has a retractable undercarriage to enable it to negotiate tight spaces.

The electric excavator has an electric motor and three advanced lithium-ion battery packs, to deliver a full energy capacity of 15kWh. www.jcb.com