JCB is now building its electric digger

electric JCB mini digger

JCB has put its fully electric digger into production, making “manufacturing history… with the construction industry’s first fully-electric mini excavator”. The new mini digger is in demand the world over, but is built closer to home in Cheadle, Staffordshire.

The company has delivered 50 examples of the 1.9-tonne 19C-1E digger, which is capable of completing a typical day’s work on a single charge, or idly run for 120 hours (or five days).

It’s five-times quieter than diesel machines, and can be juiced up in two hours using the optional 380-420-volt three-phase charger. Standard charging time is 12 hours on the 110-volt on-board charger, or 8 hours using the 220-240v on-board charger. 

electric JCB mini digger

One thing it has over its diesel predecessors is the potential to be used indoors. Without any emissions, doing so wouldn’t break any regulations on indoor air quality. It should be a nice addition to the fleets of companies wanting to work in urban areas with strict emissions controls.

JCB expects the three-pack batteries to be good up to 85 percent capacity after 2,000 full charge and discharge cycles. That’s equivalent to around 10 years of work. If every day of working is a charge and recharge cycle, that’s nearly eight years of year-round five-day weeks (without holidays). What doesn’t back that up, however, is the warranty. The machine and batteries are warrantied for up to two years.

“In urban environments in particular, contractors are understandably very keen to operate zero-emissions equipment whenever possible,” said JCB chief innovation officer Tim Burnhope.

electric JCB mini digger

As with electric cars, running an electric digger is expected to be quite a bit cheaper too. JCB reckons that, over the first five years, charging will be 50 percent cheaper than filling up with diesel. On top of that, servicing is expected to be as much as 70 percent cheaper than diesel models.

“This is a historic moment for JCB and for JCB Compact Products” said JCB’s MD of compact products Robert Winter.

“We are delighted to go into full production with the industry’s first fully electric mini excavator. The machine has a very promising future ahead of it.”

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