Proterra and Komatsu partner to develop electric excavator


Komatsu has partnered with battery developer Proterra to create the OEM’s first battery-electric mid-size hydraulic excavator.

The collaboration represents Proterra’s entry into the off-road vehicle market as well as the first Proterra Powered battery-electric construction equipment.

Komatsu will utilize the company’s battery systems for the development of a proof-of-concept electric excavator in 2021, before commercial production, which is expected in 2023 to 2024.

“As more communities embrace a zero-emission future, Proterra is excited to partner with Komatsu to develop battery-electric construction equipment,” said Proterra CEO Jack Allen. 

The battery system powering the electric excavator will feature high energy density and fast charging technology.

Engineered and manufactured in the United States, the battery packs leverage advanced energy density and a customizable design to fit within a variety of vehicles. The packaging flexibility of the battery platform will further enable the optimal placement of the batteries within the excavator and replace the need for a normal counterweight used to balance the machine.

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“Proterra’s best-in-class battery technology has been proven in 16 million miles driven by our fleet of transit vehicles,” Allen said. “What’s working in our battery-electric transit vehicles on roads across North America can work off-road, too. We look forward to collaborating with Komatsu to deliver the benefits of emissions free, quiet Proterra Powered vehicles to more communities around the world.”

Proterra Powered leverages the manufacturer’s electric vehicle technology and expertise to help commercial vehicle manufacturers electrify their vehicles. The battery systems have already been incorporated by vehicle manufacturers to create 100 per cent battery-electric school buses, coach buses, delivery vans and low-floor cutaway shuttle buses.

The battery pack design offers an ideal application for an off-road, construction setting, according to the company. as well the batteries are designed with safety as a core guiding principle and all battery packs undergo rigorous testing to ensure they can withstand the toughest conditions, making it an excellent choice for the off-road vehicle market.

“I am excited about the collaboration with Proterra, by which Komatsu will drive the electrification of construction equipment,” said Seiichi Fuchita, president of Komatsu’s development division.