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5th January, 2022

Electric Construction Equipment: The Future of the Construction Industry

Electric construction equipment brings many advantages to construction & helps make this sector more sustainable. Find out how else it's impacting the industry.

Electric construction equipment provides many benefits to the construction industry including reduced co2 emissions, less maintenance, and lower operating costs.

There has been a big focus on making the construction sector more sustainable as it has historically had a negative impact on the environment. In reality, this industry contributes a great deal to air pollution, water pollution, and waste disposal.

Therefore the introduction of more electric machinery is welcomed and is very much needed to help the construction industry reduce their carbon footprint.

Along with electric cars and public transportation, heavy electric machinery is becoming part of the norm and is available to buy, rent, and hire worldwide. In this post we’ll explore different types of electric machinery and the benefits of this eco-friendly alternative.

Hopefully this will encourage your business to become more green.

Electric Construction Equipment vs Diesel: What’s the Difference?

If you’ve ever passed a construction site and seen a whole load of vehicles and machinery, the chances are, these are all powered by diesel. However, whilst diesel is still the main runner in the construction industry, electric and hybrid vehicles are growing in dominance.

What’s more, you wouldn’t even know from an aesthetic standpoint that anything was different. Electric vehicles look pretty much the same as their diesel counterparts and have similar performance capabilities.

For example, Volvo reported that their ECR25 electric excavator and L25 electric wheel loader are nearly identical to their diesel counterparts. Every line of the specification is the same which reflects that there is no drop in power or performance. There are a few exceptions such as a small increase in continuous motor power and a slightly higher operating weight for the electric models. However, in the grand scheme of things, these differences are marginal.

People can often fall under the misconception that electric vehicles are in some way inferior to conventional construction equipment, however this certainly is not the case.

In fact, electric construction equipment offers advantages over a diesel machine and can benefit your business in a number of ways. This leads us nicely onto our next section…

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Electric Construction Equipment vs Autonomous Vehicles

Electric construction equipment and autonomous vehicles can be mistaken for the same thing but they are entirely different. When we refer to a vehicle as autonomous, this means a vehicle which can drive itself.

An electrical vehicle refers to the power source i.e. it is being powered by electricity as opposed to petrol or diesel. On the other hand, an autonomous vehicle refers to its operational functionality as it can move with little or no human input.

As well as the self-driving feature of an autonomous vehicle, they also use a variety of AI technology and sensors so that they can operate without the presence of a driver.

Electric Construction Equipment vs Hybrid Equipment

As opposed to all-electric equipment, hybrid construction equipment combines the power of a diesel engine with the emission-saving capabilities of a battery. It contains a smaller diesel engine as well as a rechargeable battery and electric motor.

This makes it an ideal solution for high intensity jobs in co2 restricted locations. Essentially, hybrid construction equipment provides the best of both worlds.

Whilst hybrid equipment still burns fuel, it can recover much quicker by reusing energy that would otherwise be wasted as heat. At YardLink, we provide a range of bi-fuel cherry pickers which can be run off either diesel or electric. This gives you more control over how you choose to power your machinery on site.

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What Are the Benefits of Electric Construction Equipment?

Electric construction equipment benefits the construction industry by reducing carbon emissions, lowering operating costs, and mitigating noise pollution. These are huge benefits to any construction manager or contractor as not only are you saving money, but you’re also helping to save the environment.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of electric construction equipment in more detail.

Lower Carbon Emissions

Electric construction equipment is helping the construction industry tackle one of its biggest challenges – global warming. This sector alone is responsible for 45% of the UK’s co2 emissions, a percentage which cannot be sustained.

However, as electric construction vehicles do not require petrol or diesel, they produce net-zero carbon emissions. The lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles effectively eliminate the need for fossil fuels. Therefore, this contributes to a more sustainable planet and greatly reduces the amount of greenhouse gasses being emitted year-on-year.

This is a positive step forward for the construction industry as they can be more hesitant to adopt greener alternatives when it comes to building practices. Furthermore, all-electric vehicles are not only advantageous for some businesses, but they are actually essential as some areas restrict emission levels and prohibit the use of diesel vehicles.

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Less Noise Pollution

Noise pollution is a huge problem in the construction industry due to the amount of heavy vehicles present on site. Firstly, high levels of noise can cause a great deal of disruption to those living in the surrounding areas. The Control of Pollution Act 1974 gives the Council the power to control noise on a construction site, and if necessary, impose restrictions on what type of machinery can be used and when. Therefore, any project manager has a responsibility to ensure consideration is taken to minimise noise, as imposed by the law.

Not only does noise pollution affect those living nearby, but it is also very dangerous to the workers on site. However, apart from wearing PPE such as ear muffs, there is a little an employee can do to protect their hearing. Excessive and prolonged exposure to noise can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss or tinnitus (a ringing sound in your ears).

Electric construction vehicles, in contrast, produce little to no noise. It can be quite scary! As electric models do not require a diesel engine and cooling fan, they produce less noise and fewer vibrations. These large pieces of machinery run very quietly, therefore protecting members of the public and workers on site.

Lower Operating and Maintenance Costs

Electric construction equipment not only eliminates the need for fuel, but also reduces operations in the long term. This is thanks to its lower engine run time. In contrast to diesel engines, electric models switch off as soon as the operator stops the machine. Therefore, no energy is being wasted unnecessarily. However, diesel engines continue running even when the machine is idle.

In addition, electric models also have lower maintenance costs as lithium-ion batteries are essentially maintenance-free. Also, electric vehicles usually contain fewer parts which means less money spent on sourcing and fitting replacements.

Delivers Instant Torque

One of the most popular aspects of an electrical vehicle is that as soon as it starts running, the electric motor provides instant torque which is an immediate surge of power. For example, if this was an electric excavator, as soon as the operator pushes a button on the joystick the response would be instant.

There’s no delay which is sometimes the case with a diesel machine. Therefore, employees can get to work immediately which improves productivity and efficiency.

What Are Examples of Electric Construction Equipment?

Electric construction is growing in the construction industry, but it’s still a slow process. As a result, not all vehicles are available as an electric model, but manufacturers are gradually rolling out more electric vehicles.

The following pieces of equipment are available as electric machines which you can hire directly from us at YardLink.

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Electric scissor lift

Electric scissors lifts are perfect for indoor applications as they are quiet, emit no emissions, lightweight, and have non-marking tires. This contrasts with diesel scissor lifts which are best suited to outdoor applications as they tend to be more rugged and therefore suitable for uneven or rocky terrain.

Electric scissor lifts are also very compact and can access areas where space is limited. This makes them versatile pieces of equipment as they don’t rely on a large, open space. Therefore they are ideal for doorways and narrow corridors.

Furthermore, the height of an electric scissor lift makes the units ideal for warehouses and building management to assist with tasks such as stocktaking and installing lights.

At YardLink, our range of electric scissor lifts are available in a range of sizes. They are an ideal solution for a variety of construction, maintenance, and installation work and provide an effective alternative to ladders or access towers.

Electric cherry picker

Electric cherry pickers can be used in a variety of applications, both indoors and outdoors. They also have the ability to work in co2 restricted areas due to the fact they do not require diesel or petrol.

Another advantage of using an electric cherry picker is that it can be used in noise sensitive environments such as hospitals and in urban areas before and after working hours. As a result, they are an ideal solution when working at height regardless of whether you’re in a factory or working in a built up area.

At YardLink, our 11m narrow electric cherry picker is quiet and emission free making it ideal for indoor use.

Electric Boom Lift

Electric boom lifts are an environmentally friendly solution for a range of hard to reach jobs. Using a platform with a long arm that is attached to a ground base, this piece of equipment extends upwards to carry personnel or materials to new heights.

There are lots of advantages to using an electric boom lift as they can fit in confined spaces, are easy to manoeuvre, and have self-levelling platforms. They can be used for a range of jobs, particularly when you need to move horizontally. This makes them a great option when carrying out electrical work or other types of overhead construction work.

Aside from these operational benefits, they are also a perfect solution for any business wanting to reduce their carbon footprint. Due to the fact that they are powered by electricity rather than fossil fuels, this makes them a popular choice.

At YardLink, our 10m electric boom lift can operate in restricted spaces thanks to its compact dimensions and lightweight design. They are most often used in confined areas which cannot accommodate traditional scissor or boom lifts.

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Electric Mast Lift

Electric mast lifts are a type of boom lift, often included in types of low level access. As a powered access platform, they move up and down in a vertical motion to provide access at height.

They are highly manoeuvrable and suitable for offices, warehouses, retail, and crowded industrial aisles. At YardLink, our 5m electric mast lift is perfect for restricted spaces making it a very versatile piece of equipment. It has a maximum weight capacity of 510kg meaning it is capable of lifting both personnel and equipment.

Electric Construction Equipment: The Future of the Construction Industry

Electric construction equipment is not a new concept, although it is growing in popularity within the construction sector. The need to create a more sustainable planet has been intensified in recent years, and this push applies heavily to the construction industry.

Electric vehicles are just one way this industry can become more green and reduce their carbon footprint by burning less fossil fuels. On top of this, businesses can enjoy a range of other benefits such as improving the health and well being of their employees, and even saving money.

Also, thanks to technological advancements, there is no compromise in terms of power or performance if you choose an electric vehicle over their diesel counterpart. So, what’s not to like?

At YardLink, we provide a range of electric construction equipment to keep your project environmentally friendly. We connect you to a network of local, trusted suppliers, and can even deliver your electric machinery the next day. To discuss your rental equipment needs in more detail, reach out to a friendly member of the YardLink team.


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