JCB’s electric mini excavator wins engineering award

electric mini excavator

JCB’s 19C-1E electric mini excavator is being honoured with one of the world’s most prestigious prizes for engineering innovation.

The United Kingdom’s Royal Academy of Engineering announced that JCB’s zero emissions 19C-1E electric mini excavator has won the 2020 MacRobert Award.

The MacRobert Award is a prize for innovation that has been presented since 1969. The innovation award has honoured a wide variety of engineering feats, including the CT scanner and Rolls-Royce’s Pegasus engine used in the Harrier jump jet.

“To win one of the world’s most respected engineering prizes is an outstanding endorsement for JCB’s electrification team, who have achieved so much in applying a science which was new to our business,” said JCB Chairman Lord Bamford. “JCB’s electric mini excavator will contribute to a zero-carbon future and it’s a huge honour for our contribution to be recognized in this way.”  

Alongside JCB’s electric mini excavator, the award’s shortlist included the all-electric I-PACE sports utility vehicle from Jaguar Land Rover and ecoSMRT liquid natural gas reliquification technology from Babcock’s LGE business.

“JCB’s electric digger is a huge engineering achievement. The team has developed all parts of the electric propulsion system to deliver system performance that matches real customer requirements,” said Professor Sir Richard Friend, chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award judging panel.

“This is a huge achievement in itself, but the additional benefits of zero exhaust emissions and much lower noise has lifted the 19C-1E excavator to a new level.”

RELATED: Cooper Equipment Rentals deploys the first electric JCB mini excavators

The 19C-1E electric mini excavator is the world’s first volume-produced fully electric mini excavator. Through electric innovation, JCB has shown it is possible to make powerful construction machinery without an internal combustion engine.

So far, JCB has sold hundreds of the machines, which have saved the equivalent of 33,290 pounds in carbon dioxide emissions across 5,616 hours of work.

As well as significantly reducing carbon emissions, the electric excavator has zero exhaust emissions and very low noise levels.

This combination makes it much better suited than traditional construction equipment for operating inside buildings or in areas where noise must be kept to a minimum, for example near hospitals and schools and in cities where night shift work is often necessary.