Watch: First fully electric asphalt roller hits the road
Asphalt paving is the latest construction sector to enter the age of electric vehicles as Dutch company BAM Infra has recently put a fully electric tandem roller to work on road projects.
Based on an older machine that was due for an overhaul, the unique new roller was converted over about 18 months. Electric propulsion means the roller is emissions-free, producing no carbon dioxide or nitrogen whatsoever, which BAM says improves the eco-friendliness of its road projects. It is also very quiet compared to other machines.
"This has been an incredible achievement and a fine example of the expertise and can-do mindset of our people," said Koob Bovenhuis, manager of BAM Infra Materieel's plant division. "From the initial idea during a strategy session, it's taken us just one and a half years to make the electric road roller a reality."
As rollers mostly require power to perform driving and steering, rather than any other tasks, electrification is relatively simple – though it does push a lot more weight than an electric car might. However, the changeover has proven significant for BAM's bottom line. Compared to the original engine, the converted roller saves seven litres of fuel per hour. With a full charge, the roller will operate for an eight hour shift and then has a charging time of three to five hours to be ready for more work.
The electric roller is the first step for BAM, which has a vision of developing an entirely emissions-free paving train. The company is also looking at hydrogen as a potential power source for heavier equipment.