How is the concept of electrification of off-highway equipment developing? How do you think this concept will grow by 2030, and which equipment will pick up pace first?
The future of electrification of off-highway equipment has become a lot more certain than ever before. Electrified equipment is the most viable solution to comply with the emerging trend of stricter emission norms. We are also seeing a rising demand for low-noise and emission-free construction machines, especially in residential and other noise-sensitive areas like hospitals and schools, etc. OEMs are therefore increasingly investing in R&D to explore renewable energy options for their construction equipment.
The global market for electric off-highway vehicles and their electrified components is predicted to be valued at about $25 billion by 2030. Forklifts and trucks are taking a lead in the electrified off-highway vehicles; however, a common trend is likely to emerge across categories of construction equipment and many other equipments like excavators are also expected to catch up on the electrification front by 2030.
Miniature versions of equipment used for indoor operations and compact spaces like aerial work platforms, compact wheel loaders, and mini excavators, may meet the electrification demand faster than the higher capacity equipment like the 20-ton excavators and large wheel loaders, which are more likely to begin with hybrid models owing to their need for greater power.
What about their ability to work successfully?
The electrification rate in off-highway vehicles is certainly viable but will depend on the equipment, for example, construction and mining equipment will have to make a gradual transition from the current ICV technology to the hybrid technology to becoming fully electrified.
Many major OEMs are already producing a variety of electric construction vehicles like the electric compact excavator, electric wheel loader, and hybrid equipment wherein the batteries are paired with electric motors instead of hydraulics.
What are the challenges of electrification that OEMs have to deal with?
There are many challenges that cannot be ignored. To begin with, manufacturers have to strike a balance between the battery cost and the power and range required to perform a full day’s work on a single charge. The lack of uniformity and a relatively low-customer base (in comparison with road vehicles) also makes it difficult to achieve the desired economies of scale.
In fact, it’s a mixed bag of opportunities and challenges. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to become the biggest regional market for electrified power components for OHVs with a market share of up to 50%, as the dominant market position of Europe, Middle-East, and Africa regions erodes in the coming decade. However, the developing Asia-Pacific countries lack capital resources and the technology to build a robust charging infrastructure for the vehicles.