Komatsu Introduces the first Company’s Electric Remote-Controlled Mini Excavator powered by Lithium Battery

As part of its 100th-anniversary celebrations, Komatsu President and CEO Hiroyuki Ogawa has announced a fully electric, remote-controlled mini excavator powered by a lithium-ion battery, as its next-generation concept machine into the future.

Fully electric mini excavator as the next-generation concept machine for the future. Courtesy of Komatsu

Sean Taylor, MD and CEO Komatsu Australia, commented:

“Looking into the next 100 years, Komatsu will continue to move forward with its stakeholders as it creates value through manufacturing and technology innovation to empower a sustainable future where people, businesses and our planet thrive together. Komatsu’s focus is on creating a sustainable footprint through our operations, processes and our products.”

Designed to lay the foundations for commercialisation of fully electric construction equipment of the future, this concept machine for a fully electric 3-ton class (bucket capacity: 0.09 m3) mini excavator is based on Komatsu’s accumulated technological expertise in electric forklifts and mini excavators, and incorporates new technologies, such as lithium-ion batteries and electric cylinders which utilise no hydraulics. Thanks to full-electric power, it is an eco-friendly machine, as it generates no exhaust gas, noise or heat. In addition to improved energy efficiency, it also features maintenance-free operation thanks to no use of hydraulic equipment.

As this concept machine requires no operator on board the machine, Komatsu has achieved totally new concepts related to vehicle designs and performance. A vehicle controller and operational device are connected via wireless LAN, resulting in no need to install facilities or create an environment, which are required in the conventional remote-control system, and enabling remote control operations under any work environment. With respect to the operational devices of the vehicle, the operator can select the one which he/she likes. Furthermore, it offers a new workstyle of operating it without boarding it, reducing the operator’s fatigue and improving workplace productivity. Thanks to electrification and remote control, this machine should be stress-free for the operator, as it will make machine operation easy for work in confined, dangerous sites, such as for indoor demolition and rescue work from disasters.

In 2020, Komatsu launched the PC30E-5 electric mini excavators (hydraulic drive) in Japan, and plans to introduce electric mini excavators (hydraulic drive) after equipping them with the lithium-ion battery system used in the concept machine for Europe in FY2022. Komatsu is working to not only accelerate the speed of commercialising construction equipment with little environmental impact, but also further anchor them into the future.

Taylor further added:

“Climate change and moving towards a global zero-emissions economy is obviously the big challenge for our generation. Komatsu has a long and rich history of driving sustainable innovation, with industry breakthroughs such as the first Hybrid Excavator which reduced fuel consumption by over 40% and the deployment of low emission engines that reduce particulate matter by up to 80% – this concept machine is an exciting extension of this journey.”