Komatsu joins Honda for electric excavator development

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  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

The two companies will work together to develop micro electric excavators with Honda’s mobile power pack (MPP) batteries.

The agreement will see Honda's MPP batteries used to power Komatsu's micro excavators

The two parties will aim to electrify Komatsu’s micro excavators, which use Honda’s mobile power pack batteries, as well as establish a battery-sharing system for mutual use of MPPs across a range of other construction equipment.

Through the joint-development agreement, both Komatsu and Honda will electrify Komatus’s PC01 micro excavator by equipping it with Honda MPPs and an electrified power unit (eGX), making it more suitable for use close to people, trees, agriculture and livestock.

Noise and exhaustion heat will be dynamically reduced as a result of the electrification of the micro excavator, while its lack of exhaust gas makes the machine not only more environmentally friendly but also capable of working indoors and outdoors.

Komatsu is aiming to officially launch the PC01 micro electric excavator by the end of the 2021 financial year.

Komatsu Australia chief executive Sean Taylor says the agreement will continue to drive Komatsu forward as a sustainable earthmoving manufacturer.

"Looking into the next 100 years, Komatsu will continue to move forward with its stakeholders and partners as it creates value through manufacturing and technology innovation to empower a sustainable future where people, businesses and our planet thrive together," Taylor says.

"Komatsu's focus is on creating a sustainable footprint through our operations, processes and our products.

"Electrification and moving towards a global zero-emissions economy is obviously the big challenge for our generation.

"Komatsu has a long and rich history of driving sustainable innovation, with industry breakthroughs such as the first Hybrid Excavator which reduced fuel consumption by over 40 per cent and the deployment of low emission engines that reduce particulate matter by up to 80 per cent - this concept machine is an exciting extension of this journey," he says.

The use of Honda’s MMP batteries will also benefit operators of Komatsu’s PC01 micro excavator who now have the ability to continually operate the machine without recharging the battery.

The initiative is part of Komatsu's wider goal to create value through technologies in line with their centennial celebrations

A series of verification tests will also be conducted by both parties to improve the convenience of electric construction equipment by supply Honda MPPs to civil engineering and construction sites as well as offering aftersales services including a battery swapping system.

Following the electrification of other micro electric excavators – Komatsu will develop them up to the one tonne class – the agreement will also look to engage in a number of MPP-based electrification studies across a range of equipment and machinery used across the construction and earthmoving sectors.

Komatsu also outlined its future vision for the joint development with Honda.

"Komatsu is promoting electrification of construction equipment and accelerating their commercialisation in order to further disseminate them into the future," the company says.

"Under the current joint development arrangement, Komatsu will work to disseminate electric excavators, (i.e., our micro electric excavators). In addition, a variety of electric equipment on civil engineering and construction sites will join our smart and electric operations, working with Honda's electric mobility and power products.

"Together with Honda, Komatsu will also work to develop a broad network of MPP-based battery-sharing systems used by the civil engineering and construction industries," Komatsu says.

The Honda MPP batteries used in Komatsu's micro electric excavators

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