Construction Equipment Asia

How the rise of electric construction machines will impact Asia

The first electric construction machines from Volvo CE are already at work in Asia, but how will their introduction change business for construction companies? We look at the advantages the new machines offer and their potential to improve sustainability in construction.

The construction industry is entering an era of electric machines and Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) is at the forefront. The company introduced its first electric machines in 2020 and there are already many of the company’s machines at work across Europe and the U.S. Here in Asia, the first units are also appearing on projects, so how will the rise of electric machines impact construction in Asia?

First, it’s good to understand what is driving demand for electric machines, and here we see a push from three sides: from governments, private companies and consumers. Almost all governments in Asia are working on sustainability plans, such as the Singapore Green Plan, or the construction of Indonesia’s new capital city, Nusantara, which plans to be net zero by 2045. These initiatives call for more environmentally friendly ways of working, with lower emissions and a shift away from fossil fuels. Alongside this many companies have their own ambitions around sustainability. Forecasts suggest a much stronger focus on green initiatives, with lucrative opportunities for those businesses at the heart of the shift. And, of course, we see demand for more responsible business and governments coming from consumers themselves.

Electric advantages

With this in mind, it’s easy to see why electric construction machines are such an attractive option for companies. They open up business opportunities to match changing times, and can also operate in areas restricted for diesel machines, such as indoor environments or other sensitive projects. There are multiple other benefits too. Aside from the headline advantages of enabling fossil-free construction sites, electric machines offer the opportunity to work to the same high standards, but in a cleaner and quieter way.

Switching to electric is a great way to lower operating costs as there’s no need to worry about diesel bills. It’s also possible to reduce operating costs thanks to a lower engine run time, as there is no engine idling (unlike with a diesel). This means maintenance and service costs are reduced as there’s less wear and tear, and lithium-ion batteries and electric motors are virtually maintenance-free. Near-silent operations offer health benefits too, with studies showing that noise pollution has been linked to mental health issues, as well as atrial fibrillation, heart failure and stroke. 

Operators of electric machines will also notice the increased controllability and greater traction control battery power delivers, making it a much more enjoyable experience. Performance is equivalent to a diesel machine, and the instant response of electric also ensures greater efficiency and productivity.

Available in Asia

In Asia, Volvo CE electric construction machines are already available in China, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea, with further rollouts planned. Machines on offer include the ECR25 Electric compact excavator, L25 Electric compact wheel loader and EC55 Electric excavator, which is built at the Volvo CE factory in China. In addition to manufacturing, selling and supporting electric machines in Asia, Volvo CE has also invested in battery pack production at its excavator plant in Changwon, South Korea.

Tomas Kuta, President of Volvo CE Region Asia, said:

“We see a clear path towards more sustainable construction equipment, with electric machines playing a central role. It’s what countries, companies and consumers all want. For us at Volvo CE, moving to more electric machine production is part of our sustainability roadmap and a crucial element in our commitment to the Science Based Targets initiatives (SBTi). The introduction of electric machines has the potential to transform the construction industry, making it cleaner, quieter and more productive. There is so much positive potential, from improved safety to new opportunities and applications. For us there’s no question that electric construction machines are the future.”

Volvo CE aims to achieve 35% of its total sales from electric machines by 2030 and it already has one of the world’s largest ranges. To learn more about electric construction machines from Volvo CE click here