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Volvo CE electric excavator integral to Sweden's largest fossil-free construction site

An electric excavator digs up dirt on a job site
A Volvo CE EC230 Electric excavator Source: Volvo CE

The 100-year-old ‘Slakthusområdet' area of Stockholm city centre in Sweden, also known as the meat-packing district, will become a testbed for innovation and emission-free construction equipment as work begins on its urban transformation. Construction is set to finish in 2033 and when open to the public, it will provide 3,000 new homes and 14,000 workplaces.

Sustainability has been built in since the project's inception with a stipulation for fossil-free contracts, including transport to and from the construction site. With a particular requirement that at least one of the larger excavators working on site should be electric, there was only one partner for the job: Volvo CE and its range of electric construction equipment.

Transformation through electrification

The new 23-ton EC230 Electric excavator, offered in selected markets, has already been proving its potential across a range of applications and is one of the mid-size electric machines commercially available. Early next year it will be put to work in Stockholm, together with a mobile peak-shaving power unit supplied by Volvo CE, to help excavate 75,000 tons of rock and 96,000 tons of soil in the first stages of the project, for an estimated 2,700 working hours.

"Partnership is how we can accelerate our journey towards emission-free job sites," says Fredrik Tjernström, responsible for Electromobility Solutions Sales at Volvo CE. "We have powerful and reliable solutions like our EC230 Electric providing all the benefits of electric equipment: zero exhaust emissions, near silence and more comfortable operation. But it is by collaborating with partners like Skanska and the City of Stockholm, who are aligned with our mission to build a better world, that we can really drive the transformation of our industry in a much more holistic way."

"It is Sweden's largest testbed in an urban environment for fossil-free contracting, where we will convert almost 35,000 machine hours to fossil-free," says Lisa Kroon, project manager at Skanska. "We want to challenge building standards and find new innovations, and we do this in collaboration with, among others, Volvo CE."

A testbed for innovation

Insights from the EC230 Electric's use will help Volvo CE further the creation of electric solutions – providing data on factors such as productivity, cost, and scalability – but will also prove helpful for others in their ongoing ambitions to reduce climate impact through their work.

"We want to drive the development of fossil-free contracts, and we can do that by setting tender requirements in our procurements," says Anders Österberg, deputy financial councillor and chairman of the exploitation committee in the City of Stockholm. "In the contract, where large amounts of rock and soil are to be excavated, one of the requirements is that at least 10 percent of the machine hours must be powered by electricity." 

"The type of procurement that the City of Stockholm has required for fossil-free contracts will contribute to a breakthrough in the transition to electric machines," says Fredrik. "The EC230 Electric will contribute to 2,700 fossil-free hours in the project."

Richard Sjöblom, an excavator operator for Skanska, has had overwhelmingly positive feedback after operating the EC230 Electric, particularly in terms of the ease of charging and the machine's performance when testing it across different applications.

"If I had the choice of an electric or diesel machine in this size class I would choose electric as there are so many advantages over a diesel machine," says Sjöblom. "When the machine was delivered to site there were many skeptics who thought the machine didn't have the capacity to last the whole day, but they have all been proved wrong."

In addition to the EC230 Electric, it is required that all other machines be run on HVO (hydrogenated vegetable oil) – a biofuel which reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent.

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