Small but mighty electric compact machines from Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) are being put through their paces by Swiss customers for the first time in one of the most sustainable cities on earth – and the results are proving ‘quietly’ satisfying.

Emission-free and silent, electric machines have the potential to revolutionize construction and are ideal for cities, such as Zurich, where low-emission and low-noise are becoming a prerequisite for build work. Recently ranked at 85% by the Global Destination Sustainability Index, Zurich has an impressive record when it comes to sustainability, with 82% of its electricity coming from renewable energies and 43% of its waste recycled.

In a country that already has strict air pollution directives in place requiring particulate filters for diesel engines and has set out a roadmap for electromobility, a shift towards electric machines then seems the most logical next step.

The Volvo L25 Electric compact wheel loader is demonstrating its value at Eberhard, a company which is proud to be a pioneer in building and environmental services, and offers civil engineering, deconstruction, recycling and the remediation of contaminated sites. From recycling concrete rubble in the 1980s to building the first soil washing plant for contaminated soil in the 1990s – which can still boast to be the largest in Switzerland – protecting the environment has always been important to Eberhard.

Today, the company is building a plant for processing mixed demolition material and has developed zirkulit®, the most environmentally friendly concrete in the world. Silvan Eberhard, Head of Logistics, at Eberhard, said: “We are investing a lot to make our construction sites as environmentally friendly as possible. We’re supporters of the circular economy and sustainability is part of our culture.”

“The L25 Electric is being used at one of our landfill sites as well as for road clearing, small-scale material handling and as a forklift. With the batteries acting as a counterweight, it can really lift a lot for a compact machine. It’s biggest advantage, though, is that it’s low emission, silent and has minimal vibration. Our operators enjoy working with it. In future, we plan to use the L25 Electric on our construction sites in downtown Zurich, and other cities where requests for low emissions and silence is high.”

A second Volvo CE electric machine, the ECR25 Electric is in action at B. MEIER ABBRUCH + TIEFBAU AG, the demolition and civil engineering firm. The compact excavator, which has been branded especially in the company’s signature red color, is being used to prepare sites for construction.

Bruno Meier, CEO and Owner at B. MEIER ABBRUCH + TIEFBAU AG, explains: “The responsibility for looking after our environment falls on everyone. As our organization has grown, we wanted to look at alternative machines that don’t rely on diesel or petrol. The ECR25 Electric is our first foray into the world of electric machines.
“We are using the excavator in built-up areas and complex spaces, such as near hospitals and schools, where its emission-free and silent operation really comes into its own.”

While electric machines require less servicing than their traditional counterparts, they do still need servicing, which is where the specialist expertise of dealership Robert Aebi AG