A new industry report forecasts massive growth by the end of the next decade
Electric vehicles on the road next to us are now a common occurrence. We can breathe easier. Noisy, smoke-belching lawn and gardening equipment is quickly being replaced by versions that run on powerful but lightweight and compact lithium-ion batteries. They’re much quieter.
The electric cousins of these types of equipment will be heading to a construction job site near you sooner than you might imagine. Battery technology is advancing so quickly that EV arrival for construction and landscaping won’t be a trickle. It’ll be a tsunami.
Some of the leading players in the EV industry have accelerated the transformation. Late last year, Tesla jolted the transportation industry by unveiling an electric semi-truck that even has semi-autonomous driving capabilities.
Early orders by companies like UPS, Pepsi, and TCI Transportation have pushed pre-orders for the Tesla semi into the hundreds. With the ability to travel 400 miles on a 30-minute charge and taking only 20 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour with 80,000 pounds of cargo, these silent electric beasts have the ability to disrupt the entire industry if they reach sufficient adoption levels.
By the numbers
Industries don’t change because of headlines. However, research forecasts back the size of this trend. IDTechEx recently released a report titled "Electric Vehicles for Construction, Agriculture and Mining 2018-2028" which predicts that electric vehicles in these industries will become an $87 billion market before the end of the next decade.
The 280-page report goes into great detail, ranging from the history of the electrification of vehicles for these industries to the benefits and specific manufacturer highlights.
If there has been one thing holding back adoption of battery power, it was a concern about the time it takes to recharge the batteries as well as how long they last. Technology has provided solutions for this obstacle. Here’s an example.
An energy storage company called Enevate recently announced a series of batteries that offer driving ranges of up to 50 miles with just a 60-second charge. As competing battery companies come forward with their versions, it will help to dissolve the concern about operations and increase the rate of adoption.
Another concern that has yet to be solved is the massive increase in the global demand for the materials to create the batteries that will power these electric vehicles. It’s predicted that there may be a significant shortfall of lithium in the near future. It’s the result of the huge growth in the number of lithium-ion batteries being produced.
Apple, for example, uses this technology for their devices. It’s been reported that they are in talks to secure the raw materials needed to produce their batteries directly from miners.
Indoor leads the way
Safety requirements already dictate that battery-powered construction should be used in enclosed spaces. It’s why there are already popular battery-powered models like the Sherpa electric mini skid steer seen on job sites across the nation.
The Sherpa 100 ECO features stand-on operation, while the EHD model is remotely controlled with a heavy-duty frame that lets it go where people should not. All models are quiet, have no fuel costs, and produce no exhaust. These all-electric workhorses are popular for use in indoor concrete cutting, facilities management, and remodeling or renovation. Moving outside, it’s the fuel savings and increased performance that’s capturing attention.
Fear of fuel
Both construction companies and landscaping companies – regardless of size – know that the price of fuel makes up a huge portion of operating costs. As you move up to larger operations, this cost becomes even more critical.
Let’s take a look at mining, for example. Much of this activity occurs in remote places, and at altitudes of up to 13,000 feet above sea level. Shipping diesel fuel there can cost more than it costs to purchase it. If ever there was an industry ripe for an all-electric solution, mining fits the bill.
You might be wondering how these places will get the electricity to recharge the batteries in this new mining equipment. One solution may already be at hand. Electricity will be produced by the mine’s own wind turbines and solar arrays, and increased battery storage efficiency will make this energy viable.
The future is now
The potential of battery-powered equipment in construction, mining, landscaping, and other industries is incredible, and the adoption of this technology is accelerating rapidly. But many companies are already using battery power in the here and now to avoid fumes and noise, save on fuel, and lower manpower costs.
How much can you save by switching to a battery-powered piece of equipment like the Sherpa? Use this calculator and find out how fast it can pay for itself.