Soaring fuel costs are everywhere, affecting companies that own and operate heavy-duty commercial vehicles – and some industries feel the pinch worse than others suchas the construction industry that is looking for ways to ease the pain of continually rising fuel costs. Everyone from those dealing with dump truck sales to companies maintaining entire work fleets knows that fuel will be their biggest expense – but hope on the horizon. Hybrid technology is being added to product lines to improve efficiency with equipment such as excavators.
Excavators and High Fuel Consumption
For those unfamiliar with excavators, they are heavy-duty commercial trucks with a bucket on the end of a swinging crane arm that is built onto a large truck cab. They move through hard-to-reach terrain with ease to arrive at sites that need to be excavated; they dig much deeper, faster, and more efficiently than most other means of excavation. Used primarily for large jobs, they are essential but also burn high amounts of fuel.
Running an excavator’s crane arm to move dirt out of the way, turn back, dig more, then repeat the process is a fuel-guzzling activity that uses up to 70 percent of the machine’s fuel. Because of this, excavators have become one of the more recent pieces of equipment being redesigned with hybrid options to reduce fuel cost.
A New Hybrid Excavator
Slowly but surely, the heavy equipment world is becoming hybrid. It began showing up first in simpler units; however, as dump truck sales of hybrids have continued to rise, manufacturers have taken that as a hint. Dump trucks and trash trucks have been the first type to be converted, while some of the main manufacturers like Caterpillar and Hyundai have ventured into excavators in an attempt to bring them to a more efficient level.
By implementing the ability to run on electric or battery power generated and stored by operating on straight fuel, these manufacturers may have hit on something. Those using hybrid electric excavators have few complaints and as the overall crane industry has looked at hybrid economy, the concept has proven to be encouraging.
Avoiding The Hybrid Stigma
The only issue that has arisen with a slow introduction of hybrid heavy equipment is skepticism about the application of such technology; fortunately, that is dying down. Equipment users doubted the ability of hybrids to do the job and dealers were skeptical abut being able to sell them. With prices higher than conventional models, id a higher up-front cost was the same as to operating a conventional model with higher fuel costs – so why do it?
Surprisingly, many dealers have found the opposite to be true; hybrid excavators are being sold almost as soon as dealers receive them, which is a delightful way to be proven wrong. Additionally, it has become obvious that buyers are considering more than just operating cost, which is even better. Many are switching to the hybrids when replacing older units because of their operating efficiency as well as the way in which a company can drastically reduce its carbon footprint on the planet.
Hybrid technology has been gradually improving over the past decade – and will continue to do so indefinitely. It is good news that this method of powering even heavy construction equipment can be made to work; as more types of these trucks are created, benefits will only continue to rise. As more buyers begin to consider hybrids to purchase, there will likely be an increase of dump truck sales, allowing purchasing companies to reuse, recycle, and conserve energy in the use of hydro excavators – and that is a great deal!
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