Hybrid version of TB 216 mini excavator to be introduced

Photography by: Supplied

Semco will test the market by introducing a hybrid version of its popular TB 216 mini excavator

A hybrid version of the popular Takeuchi TB 216 mini excavator from Semco will be introduced into the market to determine the future demand for hybrid excavators. This could also pave the way for future hybrid versions of existing models.

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According to Semco’ Graham Murphy, the main benefits of using a hybrid excavator is that there would be no noise or carbon dioxide emissions.

"This means there are no toxic fumes and no pollution," he says. "And the machine can work relatively silently and indefinitely in a building basement area, which otherwise would need complicated and expensive ventilation systems."

Graham adds that the ‘no sound’ feature could benefit contractors working on inner city demolitions and basement excavation.

"Other benefits of electric operation are the removal of the need to have fuel and other volatile materials on the worksite which may be an issue in some areas," he says.

The electric version would also interest rental companies looking for a technological edge over their competitors, he says.

"Some rental companies see electric hybrid power as an opportunity to differentiate their equipment offering and may wish to use this technology as a strategic benefit for their organisation," Graham says.

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The hybrid version is also simple to use. The operator can easily switch from diesel to electric. The system allows the diesel engine to propel the machine to the job site and then connect by a capillary line to an on-site 415-volt, three-phase power outlet. The electric component of the machine is an independent system and the electric drive motor has been added as a retrofit.

While electric-powered excavators have been used in Europe for some time—Takeuchi exhibited their fully electric model TB016 in Paris 10 years ago—the high cost of batteries back then and even today is a cause of concern for most in the market.

But Takeuchi thinks now is the time to introduce an electric hybrid version of the excavator, which would use both diesel engine and will have an electic drive.

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