The Volvo EC230 Electric excavator shows its strengths at Bristol Airport, UK

  • Volvo’s EC230 Electric excavator debuted at Bristol Airport, showcasing its capabilities.
  • Operated by Chepstow Plant International, it impressed with its power and reduced noise.
  • The demonstration highlighted sustainability goals, emphasizing the importance of efficient charging and collaboration.

Bristol Airport and Chepstow Plant International trial the Volvo EC230 Electric excavator

Volvo Construction Equipment’s EC230 Electric excavator made its UK debut at Bristol Airport. This event marked its first live appearance in the country. Operated by Chepstow Plant International, the machine tackled various tasks, from loading crushers to breaking rocks.

Operator Nathan Miller, Earthworks Supervisor for Chepstow Plant International, commented:

“There’s more instant power with electric so in that sense it’s brilliant. It’s great to be one of the first operators in the country to drive the EC230 Electric.”

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Kieron Davies, Site Agent at contractor Griffiths, added: 

“The low noise and vibrations have been well received by operators as a way to enhance their health and wellbeing in a work environment. We have also seen a boost in recruitment operations and retention with many employees wanting to be involved in projects like this that engage with the latest technologies.”

Ross Hayward, Head of Assets & Commercial at Chepstow Plant International, shared the company’s vision for the future: 

“We see this as the first step in our long-term objective to transition away from diesel power, which is why we welcomed the opportunity to work alongside SMT and Volvo CE, as preferred partners on our decarbonisation journey.

We see a continuous stream of ambition from both customers and suppliers to pursue the sustainability agenda, with mobile plant being a key cornerstone of those ambitions. Initiatives like this are essential in assessing decarbonisation plans, both on a company and sector level.”

Chepstow Plant International’s partnership with Volvo is part of a wider evaluation to establish the effectiveness of electric heavy machinery. 

Runtime was a critical factor in this evaluation. While the EC230 Electric powered through medium-duty tasks for up to six hours, heavy-duty operations required more frequent recharges.

This underscored the importance of efficient charging solutions. Operators managed charging logistics during breaks, utilising a 150KW fast charger and overnight chargers to maximise uptime.

This endeavour seamlessly aligned with Bristol Airport’s sustainability aspirations. They aimed for net zero emissions by 2050, reducing indirect emissions across the value chain.

Hannah Pollard, Head of Sustainability at the airport, highlighted the significance of the trial:

“The trial with Volvo’s EC230 Electric excavator, in collaboration with Chepstow Plant, supports our sustainability goals to work with our entire value chain to reduce indirect emissions. Using more zero emission solutions and sustainable fuels with vehicles onsite, is just one of the many initiatives we’re implementing across our business to achieve this target.”

This demonstration could herald a new era in construction. It’s characterised by cleaner, more sustainable, and quieter practices as industry players explore electric alternatives. Experiences like this offer invaluable insights into the feasibility and advantages of embracing green technologies. It’s yet further proof that, if diesel can do it, then so can electric.

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