Construction Equipment Europe

Learn how to maximise the performance of your compact electric construction machine when it is cold outside!

‘How are electric construction machines affected when the temperature plummets?’ is a question we hear a lot. Just like with any vehicle or equipment having the heating on influences energy consumption- in diesel machines this will of course be fuel and for electric machines it is the battery life that is affected. But rest assured even in sub-zero temperatures, Volvo CE’s electric construction machines have the power and performance to get the job done. Here are some examples of our compact electric machines working in colder conditions, along with our top tips to help optimize the performance of your machine during winter.

Creation of the Ice Hotel: The L25 Electric transports ice in Jukkasjärvi, Northern Sweden

Top tips to help optimize the performance of your electric construction machine

Store inside overnight when the temperature drops

Where possible, we recommend storing your machine inside overnight when it gets cold to improve the performance of the batteries. Storing outside may mean the battery depletes a bit quicker.

Charge indoors

Just like your cell phone, your machine’s battery likes to be within a certain temperature range to charge efficiently. When it’s cold, the ions in the lithium-ion battery find it harder to move around so charging can take longer. For this reason, when possible, charge your electric machine indoors when the temperature drops.

Warm up your machine before you get to work

Use our new programmable cab heater option to warm up your cab before you set to work. This also warms up the battery which aids performance. Do this while the machine is still plugged in and charging, and it won’t use up any of the battery’s electricity. You can even do this if your machine is charging indoors so it is ready to go when you are.

Choose the right attachment for the job

To maximise performance, it is important to use the right attachments. You can use the same attachments on our electric wheel loaders as on our diesel machines and it is quite easy to exchange the different attachments.

Lights on and working in the dark

The lights and rotating beacon on our electric wheel loaders are LED, which means they only use a small amount of power. We recommend strongly to have the lights on when operating the machine. Just remember to turn off the lights when the machine is not in operation.

Use snow tires

We offer snow tires as an option on our electric wheel loaders to ensure maximum grip in wintry conditions and to extend tire life. Contact your local dealer for more information.

Inspection and maintenance

Aside from a visual inspection as necessary, there is nothing to service around the electric parts of an electric machine making care and maintenance much more straightforward.

ECR25 Electric at 3,000 meters in Schilthorn, SwitzerlandECR25 Electric at 3,000 meters in Schilthorn, Switzerland

It may surprise you to know that electric machines offer many technical advantages over diesel machines in wintry weather. This is because for every 300 meters of elevation gain over sea level a naturally aspirated IC engine will lose 3% of power. This can be reduced by using a turbocharger but even then, at heights of 1,800 meters over sea level power will be lost by a minimum of 9% (and up to 20%). This loss in power is due to several factors which include oxygen availability and power consistency. In addition, emission dispersion is reduced at higher altitudes which means having a zero emission and quiet machine offers another distinct advantage. 
It is exactly for these reasons that our electric machines were recently used during construction work at almost 3,000 meters on the iconic Schilthorn in the Swiss alps.


Clearing snow in Sundsvall, central SwedenClearing snow in Sundsvall, central Sweden

For more information on our electric solutions talk to your local Volvo dealer to find out more.