Plenty of new electric vehicles have been described as groundbreaking, but the Bobcat T7X really is: it’s the first fully electric mini-digger.
Produced by American firm Doosan Bobcat, the compact truck loader is on display at the CES tech show in Las Vegas, and joins a larger electric excavator (US parlance for a full-size digger) in the firm’s growing line-up of zero emission industrial machines.
The new Bobcat T7X is powered by a 62kWh battery lithium-ion battery, which allows for around four hours of continuous electric-only running – or enough for a full day given the breaks usually involved in digging and loading work.
The machine also uses electric actuators and motors in place of the hydraulics that usually power the loading arms. That also means it uses significantly less fluid than a regular mini-digger: Bobcat claims it needs 0.9 litres of eco-friendly coolant, compared to the 259 litres uses by a usual diesel/hydraulic mini-digger.
As is traditional with EVs, the electric powertrain also offers instant power and full torque, saving the time usually taken to build up hydraulic pressure and making on-site manoeuvring easier. Another benefit that the silent running the machine offers will enable it to be used in noise sensitive areas, while Bobcat also claims substantially lower running costs.
The T7X has also been developed with smart software so that its performance can be adjusted for a variety of job situations, allowing for variable drive speed and the like.
Meanwhile, Bobcat will launch the T7X with a range of electric attachments to enable specific tasks, including an electrically-powered auger for digging holes, an angle broom for sweeping and a grabber for holding materials.
Bobcat has given no indication of price for the T7X, when it will be available or if it will be offered outside of the US. The North Dakota-based firm, which is owned by the Korean Doosan Group, does have a European operation based in the Czech Republic.