Zero emissions, construction digger, runs out of power in 2 hours. Requiring it to be recharged using a diesel generator for 8 hours!


113 thoughts on “Zero emissions, construction digger, runs out of power in 2 hours. Requiring it to be recharged using a diesel generator for 8 hours!

  1. Ha! Simple solution…just buy 4 of these so that 3 are always charging and you can get through an 8 hour day. Or just put 4x as many batteries in it. Or just plug the useless thing into shore power before you start working. Or just get the model with a mini CAT 20 Hp diesel like my 400 Amp Millar diesel welder.

    • Alternatively, insist on 2 hr working days.
      That would solve the unemployment concerns at a stroke.
      I think it is called job creation, by socialists?

      • Picks and shovels creates more jobs for Greenies. Carbon neutral recyclable wooden ones and piece rates naturally perfessors. They can count the tree rings during breaks for a bit of R&R and mental stimulation.

        • Hey , it’s simply why don’t they just hook the generator onto the back of the digger and let it tow it around? That why they would need less batteries !

          Of course they’d have to move the “zero emissions” text to the side of the digger since it would get obscured by the “big, f-off diesel generator” on the back.

          This is actually beautiful demonstration of the fallacy of all “green” zero-emission” vehicles they are trying to force on us. They always hide the “big, f-off” fossel fuel powered plant which is generating the electricity.

        • If you want to create jobs, then instead of picks and shovels an economist once posed the question, why not use teaspoons?

      • Norwegian 26 ton CAT conversion has 300kwh battery for 7-8 hours and 1- 2 hour charge. wi

        I guess the JCB 1.9 ton with the 15 kwh battery was designed for municipal crews doing small jobs with minimal noise, confined space, or underground work.

        The largest electric excavators are used in coal mining. With big power cables

        • 300 kwh is like running 60 bhp for 8 hours. It’s not that much if you think about it that way. It works if you need power on demand during 8 hours, but if you need the equipment to keep working all the time for the said 8 hours – not so much.

    • I never buy a battery powered tool unless it comes with two batteries.

      I just got a brilliant idea. How about a solar powered steam shovel?

      • I love my cordless rechargable drill, it has two batteries, one on one out. Trouble is, unlike a pro builder, I only use mine once in a blue moon for a little DIY. This means that if not urgent, I have to wait for one of the batteries to charge up for use, then I put the other one on charge for back-up Then again if I’m in a hurry, I get the trusty corded B & D drill out & plug it into the extension lead & off I go! Pro builders are using their drills constantly during the working day & putting them on charge over night, not much for the occasional DIY fella!

        • Alan, You bring your chargers to the worksite and rotate batteries as often as once an hour if you are using them constantly. Battery tech has a ways to go before you must only charge 2 of them at night for an 8 hour workday.

        • Used one on my previous job, and yes you always needed a battery (or 2) on charge. However, it was a lot more convenient than trying to find an outlet and dragging a power cord around.

          • The problem with this comparison is while current electric standards allow to easily charge a replacement battery if it needs, say, 3 kwh of energy, it’s not the case as soon as you get to 30 kwh. There’s just no infrastructure that allows to drain that much electricity easily.

    • Or you could harness a few oxen to the construction digger to mark the parts move. By the way, what is a construction digger? Is it what we call a backhoe?

  2. I suppose that would be like a BEV running out of charge on a highway, and needing a (diesel) flatbed tow truck. Schadenfreude!

  3. Should have recharged it with surplus battery stored free solar energy (at about 10 times the true cost).

  4. And in winter, probably one hour of run time. There’s a huge world out there that those who think modern society can run on 100% renewables simply don’t understand how it operates. Mike Hudema needs to put that on his Pied Piper twitter feed.

    • Agreed. Most folks that think well of renewables have only seen one side of the coin. The fact that they open an economic Pandora’s box hides unrevealed to these unwitting observers.

    • @Gamecock: Umm, what about all those emissions that were required to generate that electricity?

  5. They’re out of their minds if they think they can run construction equipment or any other type of industrial equipment on batteries. The example in the video is just a small piece of equipment. Imagine what it would take to run large equipment like a D 9 cat that requires 800 or 900 horsepower to operate, and be able to do that all day at full power on demand. It’s just not possible. You couldn’t even run farm equipment.

    • I was thinking the same thing. Reality disappears.

      Schedule and out of service time is a big deal for large construction projects.

      Battery powered large construction equipment would be like working with a purposeless handicap.

      … and how much CO2 would really be saved?

      • I’m confident in saying that mining equipment runs 24 hours a day. Down time is not an option.

        Any off-road vehicle, farm equipment or rescue vehicle must be reliable and dependable with endurance in adverse conditions. The electric powered world is an impossible fantasy.

        Could you run a taxi on electric? Yea, for about 2 hours. Great idea.

        • Ummm… I think you can run a Tesla taxi in city traffic for 5 or 6 hours, and it takes 20 minutes to get another 3 or 4.

          I have never heard any suggestion of an electric ambulance or fire truck, and I agree it sounds like a bad idea.

          Electric farm machinery isn’t happening, but some large stationary mining equipment like excavators or bucket excavators, are electric. There’s an electric coal tram locomotive at a historic mine site that looks pretty ancient.

          Whatever works, right? Some places cordless beats rope start, sometimes not.

  6. From the looks of the cord going into the digger it was low amperage. Even so, only two hours on batteries? That puts a serious damper on productivity Construction, mining, and farm equipment are examples of impractical battery powered machinery applications.

    • The JCB spec says it’s equipped with both 110 & 230 volt inputs, and the option of fast charging. The genset was clearly capable of 230 volts (and probably 415v ~ 3 phase), yet the clip shows that it was plugged into a 230/110 volt site transformer – clearly the worst possible option. Whether this is due to specific site safety regulations about where the higher voltages are permitted, or them just being silly, I don’t know. But that doesn’t alter the woefully limited running time, or the (possible) need to move it closer to the genset before the battery dies completely! The conventional diesel model would most likely run all day on a tank full, and even if it needed re-fuelling, this can be done perfectly safely from a jerry can or mobile bowser.

  7. PG&E is cutting our power … intentionally. And we’ll ALL be operating on gasoline or diesel generators. Behold California’s “green” future!!

    • I can just picture the work crew productively standing by as the batteries recharge. Good work, if you can get it.

  8. The Greens have a plan for that.
    Shovels and picks. Turn construction jobs into jobs program. That is part of the GND – a work program. And if too much work gets done and/or the workers become too productive limiting new hiring, they’ll be issued spoons instead of shovels. That is how the mind of a Socialist revolutionary like Bernie Sanders works.

    Once they get people to believe in the lie of a zero emissions digger, anything is possible.

    • The famous Milton Friedman line about government ordering people to dig with spoons to employ more people comes to mind.

      The image of people digging with spoons is quite striking, but I am not familiar with this saying. Could you explore this topic and tell me what Friedman said?

      Quote Investigator: This quotation is usually coupled with a colorful anecdote, but the details of the stories vary greatly. Here is an account from the economics writer Stephen Moore that was printed in the Wall Street Journal in 2009. Moore stated that he used to visit Milton Friedman and his wife, and together they would dine at a favorite Chinese restaurant: 2

      At one of our dinners, Milton recalled traveling to an Asian country in the 1960s and visiting a worksite where a new canal was being built. He was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, the workers had shovels. He asked why there were so few machines. The government bureaucrat explained: “You don’t understand. This is a jobs program.” To which Milton replied: “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.”

      • Don’t laugh, that’s been a fishery management strategy. When sail was replaced with motors, increased efficiency allowed catching more in a shorter time. In places depletion occurred faster, partly a matter of scale. Solution, if not still used, still suggested, go back to hook and line or the less efficient equivalent, takes more time, keeps you out of trouble. Sports fishing managed that way, commercial where allowed often went to quotas.

    • Here’s something from Milton Friedman the watermelons could learn from… if they’re capable of learning.

  9. All this wind, solar and battery-operated stuff reminds me of the Wizard of Oz. It’s all for show in front of the curtain — and behind the curtain is a little man, or in our case, fossil fueled power generators.

    I know the vast majority of people have little good scientific education or experience, but nearly everyone these days drives a car (w/battery), or uses flashlights (w/batteries), cell phones (w/batteries), tablets (w/batteries), or other portable electronic devices (w/batteries). All these users have experienced bad batteries, batteries with no charge, or batteries running low just when you need them the most. Apparently, too many of these people don’t notice that the wind doesn’t always blow, the sun only shines about half the time, and large-scale battery backup systems operate — or not — just the way all your personal batteries do.

    Is it too much to hope that folks will notice the pie-in-the-sky nature of RE plus batteries before our power systems routinely go black?

  10. People will use things when they make sense! Not many battery operated devices are ready for prime time and none are zero emissions if any type of proper analysis is done. Just virtue signaling pains…

  11. Battery powered forklifts last longer than that. Could the work by diggers be much more difficult?

    • Yes. Much more difficult. Look at the hydraulics on a digger, look at the travel of them. Think of the energy dissipated by them wrenching soil out of the ground.

    • It’s a question of resistance. Battery forklifts only push against gravity and the weight of the object. This digger must push against gravity and the friction of dirt on dirt. Lift and shovel full of dirt and compare that with pushing through well compacted and, worse yet, gravely and/or clay soils. The amount of energy it takes to dig vs to lift is a vast difference.

      • That digger uses a small bucket. Guesstimating an 18-20″ spread at most.

        Leverage and hydraulics should allow that machine to dig easily unless it runs into massive rock.
        Compacted soil should not be a problem.

        If they’re using that digger to dig through dry hardpan clay, then whoever rented the thing should be fired. If an amateur rented the thing for dry hardpan clay, they deserve the ridicule.
        Wrong tool for the job.

        • They hired the normal size digger they needed for the job but alas. They’re not some weekend DIYers trotting down the hire shop once in a blue moon on that construction site.

    • Lift and move a wheelbarrow full of dirt. Then go dig and shovel enough dirt to fill that wheelbarrow. You will quickly realize the difference!

      (Especially here in the desert Southwest. I call the dirt here in Tucson “proto-rock.” Apologies to the geologists, but it is pretty darn close. Construction project just south of me dug a six foot deep uncovered trench along the road over the winter, and we had several pouring rains after that – absolutely no erosion along the sides of it.)

  12. To quote that famous philosopher Bugs Bunny: ” What a maroon!”

    Talk about unintended consequences.

  13. might be something to consider when fumes are a problem, say you are in the bottom of a well. Or inside a building, digging a new basement.

    • I work at a mine with both pit operations and underground drift and stope mining. The vast majority of both the heavy mining machinery as well as light vehicles used underground are diesel fueled. Rapid air exchange and improving exhaust emission systems make this possible. We mine palladium, used primarily in catalytic converters. The company slogan is “Metals for Clean Air”.

      • Still, academically, electric machinery and vehicles (with reasonable autonomy and reliability) wouldn’t be even better to use underground? No exhaust emissions, no engine noise, wouldn’t that be an improvement?

        • re: “electric machinery and vehicles (with reasonable autonomy and reliability) wouldn’t be even better to use underground? ”

          I’ve recently taken an interest in mines and mining; the bigger operations operate around the clock, so, the answer to your question would tend toward “no” rather than “yes” (given fueling takes minutes vs charging takes hours).

  14. Maybe they could use battery powered generators instead of diesel.

    One thing that one rarely sees comments on with respect to renewables capital equipment – generation or use – is asset utilisation. When I studied economics, a key factor in productivity growth was asset utilisation. The closer you could get to 100%, the cheaper it was to use the asset. Now that concept has been thrown out of the window by intermittent and inefficient renewables equipment – Hey! Who cares? As long as all the boxes on our green scorecard are ticked.

    No doubt my understanding of economics, being pre-post-modern, is old fashioned and therefore no longer relevant to the world we live in – until the recession being held at bay by large quantities of cheap money kicks in.

  15. It IS priceless. Tell me again greenies how electrification of vehicles, equipment and public transport is going to save the world!

    • The unstated real motive: the ban means little new construction, which means existing properties go up in value, which means greater property tax revenue.

  16. It would have a viable application working inside tearing up cement floors and digging pits in a factory where you don’t want a gas engine, but it’s totally impractical for outside use.

    • But there are bigger units in the works. As far as I could find out, 40 tumes larger battery and 15 times more lift force.

      Heavy work with the JCB in the video are as dumb as trying to drill a well with a DeWalt cordless drill.

  17. Notice that the ones who talk up zero emission vehicles exhale out A LOT MORE CO2 with all their praise of the earth loving things while the detractor sums it up nicely in one sentence. So who exactly is the more earth friendly kind of person again?

  18. Hey, here is an idea for the Greens to think about.
    I wonder if it would be possible to use the Diesel engine from the generator directly in the mini digger and cut out the need to charge the digger in the first place….?
    I will ask that AOC person if this is an idea I could patent?
    It can’t have been done before can it….?

  19. Here’s what the Manhattan Institute tells us about utility grid storage: (it’s insane).
    It costs less than $1 a barrel to store oil or natural gas (in oil-energy equivalent terms) for a couple of months.[20] Storing coal is even cheaper. Thus, unsurprisingly, the U.S., on average, has about one to two months’ worth of national demand in storage for each kind of hydrocarbon at any given time.[21]

    Meanwhile, with batteries, it costs roughly $200 to store the energy equivalent to one barrel of oil.[22

    • $200 seems incredibly cheep for a battery equivalent to the energy within a barrel of oil. It costs me $160 for a 5AH Makita battery, which would be probably about 1 litre of oil equivalent.

      Also, the oil and coal generate the power. Batteries generate nothing.

  20. 1 million BTU, about 7 gal of diesel fuel, per hour is 29 kw of power. A battery simply cannot match the energy density of hydrocarbon fuels.

    • That digger comes with a 15kWhr battery as standard, with the option of 20kWhr, so roughly the same amount of energy as contained in a 4 gal jerry can…

    • A lithium-air battery can theoretically come fairly close, but don’t hold your breath waiting for it.

  21. I have brought this up before, but again, How are they going to mine for all of the minerals needed for Wind Turbines and Solar Panels in 20 years.?

    • Userbrain:

      They will use battery powered diggers just like this but bigger. Not sure how they will mine for the money to finance it all. That bit is very scary.

  22. A possible, but very highly specialized application for this: excavation for rescue in confined spaces with very little or no ventilation. Otherwise it’s probably too expensive to even rent for a very short job.

  23. Sent this to my brother, and here is his reply:

    My Tesla friend says if he runs out of charge on the highway, they send out a flatbed truck and a battery pack. The battery pack has enough energy to drive the Tesla on to the flatbed and driven to a charging station. Then you have to take it in to have the computers reset.

    Works great! 🤬

  24. Glad someone posted this more globally as couldn’t find on youtube.

    I’m still waiting to see the factory producing Solar Panels being powered by Solar Panels & that goes for WindTurbines also; or a Pick’nMix of the two & no cheating with FossilFuels!

  25. Green as in geen-backs and very green, where environmental disruption is shifted… shared. Well, people can believe they are empathizing with Mother Gaia. So, just do it, kneel, I guess.

  26. The next thing will be electric motorhomes, but you’ll have to make sure they carry a powerful enough backup diesel or petrol generator to recharge the battery.

    • Funny you should bring this up – I went to a motorhome exhibition today, and one of the promotional leaflets handed out mentioned a couple of new electric motorhomes. I think the best range was about 160 miles. Now imagine an average small camp site electrical distribution system if one of these plugs in to fully recharge, never mind if (God forbid) they become commonplace. As for trying to squeeze one into a typical supermarket EV charging bay…

  27. Battery operated industrial equipment is quite common. Think fork trucks in large warehouses. Usually there are more than one battery pack per vehicle for swap out. The ones I was acquainted with were about 2x3x4 feet and weighed several thousand pounds. Also, scissor lifts for ceiling maintenance, light bulb changing, ect. Depending on usage they lasted an 8 hour shift, recharge might be 8-16 hours. You really do not want to use ICEs inside buildings.

    • Why would you need a mini-digger inside a building? Neither fork lifts nor scissor lifts require as much power, and I doubt if either would be used if they needed recharging after two hours of use.

      It boggles the mind that some company spent thousands developing this, and another company bought one.

    • I find it fascinating that some people seem to think they are saving the planet with batteries that they charge at night, for use the next day, ie the fork lift batteries.
      Where do they get the power from, solar they will tell you, my question, how? the sun doesn’t shine at night, so no solar.
      They seem surprised, what are our children being taught at school, that the sun shines at night, I DON’T THINK SO, or I have yet to see it.
      So where are you getting your power from, you can see the wheels turning ever so slowly, must be coal here in queensland, DUHHHH!!!!! that dirty black stuff that the govt are closing down all the coal fired stations and not planning on building any more or so we are told.
      So back to the question where are you getting your electrical power from??? that you use at night.

  28. I hope the “engineers” that put this thing together don’t start designing bridges anytime soon.

  29. Are they incapable of basic math? HP x 707 watts x hours all divided by 1000 gives kwatt hours.
    And this is assuming 100% efficiency.
    800 hp x 707 x 10 (10 hour shift) ÷ 1000 gives 56,560 kwatt hours. Now that is a battery pack I want to see!

  30. The reason these things exist is to allow work indoors. “Zero emissions” means one can breathe around them. Linking them to stupid political issues is malice.

    Two hours of run time is actually pretty good for a battery-powered excavator. Small construction machinery made for indoor work is commonly powered by propane, but now that reasonably good batteries are available, we will see more of it run by electric motors.

    Ni-Fe alkaline batteries have been in use for more than a century, powering forklifts, locomotives, and such. Their capacity is poor, but they are cheap and durable and are still widely used as indoors and underground traction power.

    • Yep.

      From the JCB web site:

      “JCB today makes company history with the unveiling of its first ever electric excavator – the quietest digger in its range and one delivering zero emissions.

      The brand new JCB 19C-1 E-TEC mini excavator has been developed in top secret at JCB’s World HQ in Staffordshire where it was shown for the first time today.

      With the drive towards lower emissions, the zero-emission JCB 19C-1 E-TEC will allow contractors to work inside buildings and in emissions-sensitive inner city environments. It will also allow rail contractors to operate in tunnels and underground, without having to install costly exhaust extraction equipment.

      Another huge advantage of the new electric mini is that the external noise, at 7dBA lower, is a massive five times quieter than its traditional diesel powered counterpart. This means contractors can work after normal hours in urban streets without disturbing residents, as well operating in other noise sensitive environments including hospitals and schools.

      On digging there is no compromise on performance with the fully charged electric machine capable of putting in a full shift in normal operation. And with no daily checks of coolant and engine oil levels required, the machine is off to work quicker than its diesel counterpart.

      JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said: “JCB has been at the forefront of developing innovative, low emission construction equipment for many years. In producing an electric JCB mini excavator, we are offering our customers a practical and affordable solution for applications that demand zero emissions and quiet operation.”

      JCB Chief Innovation and Growth Officer Tim Burnhope said: “By replacing the diesel engine with an efficient, 48V electrical driveline, with the latest generation automotive battery cells, JCB has once again moved the mini excavator market forwards.

      “The 19C-1 E-TEC will provide contractors with a zero-emission, low-noise solution, allowing them to work independently, in late night urban conditions, within buildings and even in rail tunnels with no requirement for costly exhaust extraction equipment. The 19C-1 E-TEC points the way to a new zero-emission future for JCB mini excavators.”

  31. This video is going viral as we speak. The UK Yorkshire accent makes it really funny. Yorkshireman are known for a no nonsense, down to earth outlook.

    On the subject of so called zero emissions. In the UK we still run diesel trains on our rail network. Before we mess around with battery operated cack, wouldn’t it be an idea to fully electrify our railways? I know that the electricity currently comes from fossil fuels anyway but it could be generated using nuclear power in the future. The thing is, electric trains use technology that has been proven to work, as opposed to technology that has been proven not to.

  32. I think many of you are missing the point of zero emissions, though. – For a machine that size, it’s not about carbon emissions, it is about being able to work in confined spaces without needing a BA set.
    I’m not sure about the JCB model but many of the electric/hybrid excavators on the market can be run directly from a 3 phase gen set, so downtime is not an issue.
    I personally own diesel earthmoving equipment but I can definitely see a need for these types of machines.

    • Coal roller triggering at work. It’s just a big cordless tool that needs recharging. Iduots forgot to arrange for construction site power?

    • Sure, just have a mobile solar panel system a quarter of the size of a football field (larger if you want to recharge it in less than eight hours) to drive out to your construction site. Easy-peasy.

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