JCB take the lead in electrification


JCB has launched its first ever full electric mini excavator, the 19C-1E – an exceptionally quiet, powerful compact model with zero exhaust emissions. Utilising leading-edge automotive battery technology, JCB says the 19C-1E will deliver all of the performance of a conventional diesel-powered 1.9-tonne mini excavator with a reduction of both internal and external noise levels.

Designed to meet a growing need for environmentally friendly construction equipment, the 19C-1E has either three or four lithium-ion battery packs providing a 15-20kWh storage capacity. The batteries have a sophisticated management system that the company says ensures full-shift availability and an on-board charger with 110V input for 12-hour recharging as well as the option of 8 hour 230V charging when required. JCB says there is also a fast charge option allowing a full charge in under two hours.

“Electric machines have an important niche role to play in the construction sector particularly with increasing urbanisation where they are operating more closely to people, digging underground and indoors,” Alan Tolley, JCB group director of engines, tells UKPO. “One advantage is that they will allow rail contractors to operate in tunnels and underground, without having to install costly exhaust extraction equipment. Electric machines do require a recharge period, so this has to be factored into the work pattern. However this is not usually a problem for the mini excavator category, but could be for other machine types that are used more in a continuous process mode.”

So how will electric machines fit into the overall picture? “Electric will have a part to play but clean diesel technology will continue to power the vast majority of machines,” says Alan. “When you compare electric to diesel, the latest Stage V JCB diesel engines have almost eradicated harmful emissions, with NOx down 97% and soot particulates down by 98% compared to 20 years ago. We have also reduced CO2 emissions by almost half (an improvement that is not required by legislation) by improving machine and engine efficiency. So with diesel, we are firmly on the road to zero.”

The new 19C-1E’s highly efficient electric motor delivers instant torque to power the machine’s Bosch Rexroth load-sensing hydraulic system. JCB says this delivers the same digging performance as a standard 19C-1. The hydraulic system also delivers a 32 litre/min twin flow auxiliary circuit and the mini comes with an integrated hand-held hydraulic tool circuit option, for added versatility.

The machine has three digging modes, controlled by a rotary dial. In the ‘low’ setting the electric motor runs at 1,200 rpm; in ‘general’ it operates at 1,600 rpm and in ‘high’ mode the motor spins at 1,800 rpm. There is an additional Auto Kick Up mode for tracking, where the motor operates at 2,300 rpm for rapid movement between digging sites. 

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