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Batteries Help Power 46,000 Lb. Wheel Loader
Tests Show Big Gains in Fuel Efficiency


Combining a small diesel engine with electric power technology, the LX1 electric hybrid wheel loader achieves a substantial gain in fuel efficiency, a reduction in emissions, and a decrease in noise pollution compared to conventional machines.

The field test results of Volvo Construction Equipment's LX1 prototype electric hybrid wheel loader were recently released and reaffirmed an ever-expanding role for battery-powered equipment in the landscape and construction industries.

The LX1, which couples a significantly smaller diesel engine with electric drive motors mounted at the wheels, electric driven hydraulics, and a battery energy storage system, performed hundreds of hours of work at the selected testing grounds - two Waste Management facilities in California.

The company is the largest environmental services and recycling outfit in North America, and it operates one of the largest fleets of CE equipment in the world. Prior to testing the LX1, the company ran a conventional machine at both sites to gather baseline data.

"Three experienced operators from Waste Management, who were trained and supported by CE engineers, carried out their daily work with the LX1 and provided us with valuable feedback," says Scott Young, electromobility director at the equipment manufacturer. "Their responses were positive - they liked the dramatic reduction in noise, improved visibility over the rear of the machine, ease of operation and powerful hydraulics."

The fuel efficiency improvement target set for the project was 35 percent. Early results at one of the facilities show an average improvement of 50 percent in fuel efficiency, and a reduction of 35 percent in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. At another test site, the loader reached an average fuel efficiency improvement of around 45 percent.

According to the manufacturer, the prototype is capable of doing the work of a wheel loader that's one size larger. As development on the machine continues, it will receive updates and tuning based on information collected from the tests before it becomes commercially available.

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September 20, 2019, 10:28 am PDT

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