5 cool earthmoving equipment prototypes revealed in 2023
These earthmoving machines are not available to buy – yet – but they represent some key areas of innovation at the forefront of the industry. Check out Heavy Equipment Guide's 2023 Top Prototypes below.
Fully electric skid-steer loader
Bobcat followed up its introduction of the world's first fully electric compact track loader with the reveal of its first fully electric skid-steer loader prototype. The S7X SSL uses the same electric drive motors and ball screw actuators as the T7X CTL for full electric power of all machine functions and attachments. Look for the S7X to hit the market in the near future.
Hybrid diesel-electric dozer
The 850 X-Tier is a hybrid diesel-electric dozer that John Deere says provides greater pushing power from the torque that its E-Drive system provides. John Deere has been working with this technology for over a decade since introducing the 644 X wheel loader in 2013 and the 944 X wheel loader in 2015. The two big benefits of hybrid technology are fuel savings and a boost in productivity. When an operator needs to move material from point A to point B, they need to do it as efficiently as possible, and the high-torque of E-Drive delivers more pushing power to the ground. This dozer will be available once John Deere finishes testing.
Hydrogen combustion engine
JCB has turned to hydrogen gas as an alternative fuel solution for larger earthmoving and material handling machines – which has resulted in working hydrogen-gas-powered backhoe loader and telehandler prototypes. These prototypes feature a new designed-from-the-ground-up JCB engine optimized for hydrogen fuel combustion. According to JCB, one of the big advantages of hydrogen combustion is that processes on the job site would remain very similar to job sites that currently run diesel-powered machines. Hydrogen fuel can be delivered, operators can refuel, and then get back to work. JCB is continuing to develop and test this engine.
Electric autonomous loader concept
Bobcat's RogueX, a concept fully electric, autonomous machine turned heads at CONEXPO with its sleek, minimalist design. With this project, Bobcat is exploring the possibilities for electric power, autonomous operation, and dual lift-arm geometry – and is testing the limits of machine functionality. By eliminating the cab and using advanced kinematics, the RogueX has both vertical and radial lift path capability. Like Bobcat's electric CTL and forthcoming SSL, the RogueX produces zero emissions and is powered by a lithium-ion battery, has an electric drive system, and has no hydraulics. There are no plans to commercialize the RogueX at this time.
Hydrogen fuel cell excavator
Komatsu has chosen to explore a hydrogen fuel cell solution to decarbonize medium- and large-sized construction equipment. Larger equipment requires a power source with a higher energy density than small construction equipment – Komatsu says that hydrogen can deliver that higher energy density and refuelling is faster than charging batteries. Komatsu started testing its hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered medium-sized excavator concept in May this year and has adapted Toyota's hydrogen fuel cell system and hydrogen tank for this machine. The company continues to conduct proof-of-concept tests.
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