JCB hosts product virtual press conference

Nov. 22, 2020

Adding to a line of new zero emission machines on its Road to Zero program, JCB held the company’s first ever virtual press conference from its world headquarters in Staffordshire, England, on Nov. 18, highlighting expanding electric technology.

Product announcements included a new cab for the company’s fully-electric 19C-1E mini excavator, along with a rapid universal charger compatible with the company’s future E-TECH electric models. JCB also introduced the Loadall 505-20E all-electric telescopic handler model.

Andy Wyman, JCB group engineering director, said that in just a few years, the company has gone from having no electric machines to a wide range of electric-powered models. He said the battery-powered products are part of the company’s aim to provide both clean diesel and electric technology.

Tim Burnhope, JCB chief innovation officer, said the company marks 75 years in business in 2020, and with it, a push to move forward with the latest technology and green energy.

“The pace of change is rapid,” Burnhope said. “We need to be equally quick in responding to the growing environmental challenge caused by climate change and the need to improve air quality.”

Burnhope said JCB, with Anthony Bamford, chairman, as the driving force, also is working on a hydrogen-powered excavator that has undergone rigorous testing for more than a year.

As for electric products and the equipment rental industry, Burnhope said there is a viable and valuable connection between the two.

“I think it’s exciting for rental,” Burnhope said. “They (rental) can offer a number of areas of assistance and help in getting electric machines to market. First of all, customers don’t have to buy them and customers can try these machines through rental companies. And, that’s proven to be very successful. It’s almost a try before they buy and allows operators to gain experience.”

Burnhope said electric can be cost effective for rental customers, depending on the project. If a project requires underground work, fuel bills can be expensive for those applications.

“You can put a rental machine in, and the total cost for an electric rental machine could be far less than the traditional machine that’s being used,” Burnhope explained. “That’s where you’ll find rental companies and sales teams are really experimenting to find those great solutions. You may have a demolition company in Paris that has to close operations a 4 o’clock, but all of a sudden, you can keep working, because you have no noise with your machine.”

As for the overall state of the market for construction equipment, Graeme Macdonald, JCB CEO, said the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) created challenges in many markets throughout March, April and May. He is optimistic about the company’s future.

“Our expectation on the construction equipment market is we’ll see between a 5 and 8 percent growth next year over this year,” Macdonald said. “We expect our industry to rebound quickly through the course of next year.”

Products highlighted include:

Loadall 505-20E all-electric telescopic handler: The company’s fully electric version of its diesel-powered Loadall. The machine has the same 5,500-lb. lift capacity as the diesel model along with the same 12 ft. 1 in. outside turn radius and 6 ft. 2 in. overall height. The machine delivers an in-cab noise level of 66.7dB, while the external level is 92.2dB. Other features include dual electric motors for drive and lift, brake regeneration to boost battery charge, regenerative hydraulics, full-shift operation capability and a range of charging options.

Off-board rapid universal charger: Working with machine electrical systems from 48V to 96V and above, the JCB Universal Charger offers customers rapid-charging solutions to allow extended working capability with battery electric construction and industrial machinery. All of the company’s E-TECH electric models are supplied with a standard built-in charger and rapid charger preparation, allowing customers to cap off the charge and return to work. The charger unit, available through JCB dealers and JCB Parts, can be installed at any site offering 480V three-phase electrical supply.

JCB 19C-1E electric mini excavator with cab: The machine has been in production since 2019, but the cab has been added. The company says the machine will use the same cab as the JCB’s 1- to 2-ton models and will be equipped with an electric heater to provide instant heat to demist windows and warm the cab working environment for the operator. The cab offers a clear view all around the machine and uses the same LED working lights and wipers as the diesel models, making it easier to work in poor visibility or during hours of darkness when required. When operating the machine with the heater on, there is zero impact to the machine’s digging or tracking performance. Battery capacity allows a full day’s shift to be worked.

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