A groundbreaking research project with Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) and partners to explore every aspect of the electric ecosystem is helping to deliver a complete site solution for real urban applications.
Together with multiple municipalities, cities and academic and industry partners, Volvo CE is thoroughly testing every part of how an electric machine is put to work from a system perspective – from charging infrastructure through to energy supply and more. The Electric Worksite (E-Worksite), which launched earlier this year in Gothenburg, Sweden, not only sets the global benchmark for electric job sites but also tests electric machines’ specific requirements across different tasks within a demanding urban environment. It is a vital next step in the manufacturer’s electrification journey and a testament to its commitment to achieving net zero value chain greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, as validated by the Science Based Targets initiative.
Carolina Diez Ferrer, Head of Advanced Engineering Programs, at Volvo CE, says, "We are already delivering electric solutions that offer zero exhaust emissions, reduced noise, and a much more comfortable work environment, but that is only half the challenge. We are committed to also helping our customers reach their own climate goals through complete site solutions with a holistic sustainable approach. This exciting partnership allows for a comprehensive investigation into the varied infrastructure and support system needs for electric machines to really perform to their best, no matter the task at hand."
Innovation powered by partnership
E-Worksite is a long-running research project that explores the site requirements for electromobility over the next 2 years across a variety of different applications. It has now completed the development of a new recreation area within the major city park Färjenäsparken and is currently working on the redesign of the Drottningtorget city square, both in the heart of Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden. Here, the customer transformation from diesel machines into more sustainable environmental solutions is guided by a fully holistic exploration of every aspect of site management. The project is funded by the Swedish Energy Agency, with Volvo CE working in close collaboration with Gothenburg City, NCC, Gothenburg Energy, Lindholmen Science Park, Chalmers University of Technology and ABB Electrification Sweden, among many others to conduct a large-scale machine demonstration in Gothenburg.
Peter Lindgren, Business Developer Electrified Transports at the City of Gothenburg Urban Transport Administration, says, "To achieve the City of Gothenburg’s climate goals we need to reduce greenhouse gases and we see that electric construction machines will help us in this environmental work by reducing local emissions of both nitrogen oxides and particles, as well as noise. The partnership as part of the Electric Worksite is of great value and we see that this research project has the capacity required to speed up our green transformation."
In this first phase, a number of electric machines already available to buy on the market are being put to the test, including the L25 Electric wheel loader and ECR25 Electric excavator, which are carrying out minor construction work, material moving and landscaping. A larger 30-tonne grid-connected excavator will be tasked with more energy-demanding jobs at different construction sites, to start in spring next year.
No one size fits all
Project planners are answering questions such as how to ensure best value for money for customers and what are the most energy efficient methods of supplying electricity to power the machines. Beyond the technology itself, business models, infrastructure and support systems, regulatory frameworks and a mindset change are all required on the road to full acceptance. It is a complex puzzle to solve as there will be no one size fits all. The findings will prove important not only for municipalities in deciding how to develop the appropriate legislation, but also for industry partners in bringing technical solutions to market – both in the immediate future and over the next two decades.
"We want to collectively take on the complex task of understanding the electric ecosystem and guide our customers on how best to move forward in this transition," says Niklas Lindblom, Project Manager at Advanced Engineering Programs, Volvo CE. "Through this partnership we will be connecting all parts of the customer value chain in order to build up shared knowledge and innovation capabilities to ensure our electric future is fit for any construction challenge."
Launching the project in an urban application allows for a demonstration of the advantages electric machines bring to city life – low noise, low emissions and a much more peaceful environment for society in general.