What Was The World’s First Electric Digger?
Over the past decade, construction firms have been increasingly mindful of their carbon footprint, for both regulatory and ethical reasons.
The concept of green construction has required a fundamental shift in how many firms work, and one complication to reducing emissions has been a lack of powerful, widely available plant machinery.
The availability of electric construction vehicles has been somewhat mixed, as whilst certain types of vehicles such as forklifts were quickly adapted with electric motors thanks to their largely indoor nature, outdoor construction vehicles had exceptionally rigorous standards.
They needed to last a long time, needed to work in almost any conditions and could not spend too much time waiting to be recharged.
Such was the scale of the issue that it took until 2019 for major manufacturer JCB to produce the 19C-1E, the world’s first electric digger, and the winner of the following year’s MacRobert Award for engineering innovation and excellence.
It was to the construction world what the General Motors EV1 was to electric cars; it was the catalyst that proved that electric construction vehicles were not only possible to make at all, but that they could be every bit as capable, robust and useful as their fossil fuel-powered brethren.
Once the practical considerations were no longer a concern, the benefits of lower noise on the site (and thus less harm to workers without ear defenders)and zero exhaust emissions whatsoever made it the ideal choice for certain types of construction projects.
For example, whilst it was difficult previously to use heavy machinery within a building without exceptional ventilation, an electric digger can be used instead without so many of the mitigation methods otherwise required.
As well as this, it is far less disruptive to nearby businesses, homeowners and the surrounding area, meaning that it can be used near hospitals where loud noises should otherwise be avoided if at all possible.