Is there a way to totally redefine the construction work machine? Can it be quieter, smarter, greener, faster, and ultimately more powerful?
Doosan Bobcat has provided a resounding yes to both questions.
The company unveiled the T7X, the world’s first all-electric compact track loader at CES 2022 in Las Vegas.
“The machine is fully battery powered and is designed to outperform its diesel counterparts,” said Joel Honeyman, vice president of global innovation at Doosan Bobcat. “The machine is more intelligent and productive with electric propulsion.”
The traditional hydraulic work group has been completely replaced with an electrical drive system consisting of electric actuators and motors. In addition, it is said to be 10 times quieter and more powerful with high-performance torque than any diesel-fueled track loader that has ever come before it – all while eliminating any carbon emissions.
"This machine is a technological feat for Bobcat and for the entire industry,” Honeyman said. “Innovation has always been a part of the Bobcat legacy, and what we have been doing in the technology space for the past several years has culminated in where we are today. It’s also the platform for where we will go in the future, which includes electrification, autonomy and connectivity.”
With the T7X, Bobcat has challenged the status quo to deliver a connected, all-electric machine designed for power and performance that previously was not possible. The machine has already been recognized for its ingenuity, being honored with two CES Innovation Awards in the Vehicle Intelligence and Transportation and Smart Cities categories.
To accompany the T7X, Bobcat will be introducing the first-ever all-electric attachments for the machine, starting with an electrically powered auger, grapple and angle broom.
Also, through a strategic partnership, Sunbelt Rentals will be the first national rental equipment company in North America to adopt Bobcat’s battery-electric technology and make it available to customers, supporting the environmental, social and governance (ESG) focus for both companies.
“We're thrilled to be part of this world's first ever all electric zero-emissions machine that we can bring to market to fulfill our customers' desires by making available a reliable alternative to fossil fuel burning machines and putting it in their hands to put it in the most suitable applications that they deem worthy as we make this machine available to the market,” said Brendan Horgan, CEO of Sunbelt Rentals. “By making an investment in this first-of-its-kind, all-electric technology, we support our ESG objectives of empowering our customers and communities with the availability of alternative rental solutions that reduce emissions and noise.”
All day, all electric
The heart of the T7X is a powerful 62 kW lithium-ion battery and battery management system developed in partnership with Green Machine. Depending on the application, the battery in the T7X can provide up to four hours of continuous operation time or a full day under normal contractor intermittent operation.
As with a diesel-powered CTL, the T7X is intended for a wide range of applications. “There are several customer segments who we work with, one of which is particularly focused on sustainability, green technology and emissions reductions,” Honeyman said. “The T7X is that environmentally conscious solution.”
In addition, he said Bobcat has customers who are concerned about tackling jobs in urban areas and indoors, and using equipment that is quieter, emissions-free and low-vibration. “Of course, our customers are concerned with power, productivity, and efficiency – which is where the T7X also shines,” Honeyman said.
While the new T7X is eco-designed, it is also a smart machine featuring the software connectivity Bobcat equipment is known for via two-way telematics communications. The platform provides integral data about the performance of the machine, along with operator-focused data to change machine preferences, tune the performance to certain job situations and upgrade product features. This includes variable drive speed at full torque and other features not possible with a diesel hydraulic machine.
“The work modes allow us to tailor the power output when needed for the operator,” Honeyman said. “If an operator is focused on preserving battery life, that’s where eco mode comes in. The advance mode is essentially very similar to our current T76 performance, and beast mode provides the ability for short bursts of full instantaneous torque to the drive system to really produce power when it’s needed.”
Unlike its diesel counterparts, this eco-friendly machine and the power management system only consume energy when it’s at work.
Honeyman said the T7X uses only one quart of eco-friendly coolant, compared to 57 gallons of diesel fuel and hydraulic oil in its equivalent diesel model.
Regardless of application, it also offers a few key points on uptime and serviceability. Honeyman noted that the platform represents a significant change in overall machine maintenance, including eliminating fluid changes and machine failures related to the engine and hydraulic powertrains. Combined, it effectively eliminates traditional repair costs.
“The platform of the T7X offers another significant advantage to owners and operators – the reduction of nearly 50 percent in components, all of which are designed for smarter, simpler use.,” Honeyman said. “It is the solution that the construction industry and our planet needs today for tomorrow.”
Commitment to technology
The first concept machine was reportedly put together in three months. Honeyman said Bobcat immediately began showing the machine to customers to gather feedback and critical data points.
“Once we knew that our concept worked technically, we started to discover the new features and advantages of this platform,” Honeyman said. “As we gathered that feedback and those data points from our customers, the excitement and anticipation became very apparent. The T7X is really a machine that needs to be experienced.”
To speed up the pace of research and development for electronic control capabilities of the T7X. Doosan Bobcat collaborated with Moog Inc., a worldwide developer of motion control components and systems for industries ranging from aerospace and defense to construction.
Moog's scope on the T7X involves the power management system, the motion control system and the connectivity to allow it to be enabled for future enhancements.
“This is not about taking a set of components and just putting them on the machine, it's about integrating them into a system, and we have the advanced controls knowledge to make it a success, said John Scannell Moog chairman and CEO. “What that does is enables it to be a more efficient and a higher performance machine than the traditional machines”
Development of the T7X attained the company’s goal of an equipment solution that is a smarter and more sustainable machine, while maintaining power and productivity.
“We are proud that the T7X accomplishes all these goals and more,” Honeyman said, describing the machine as an “industry disrupting solution that will transform how work is done and lead to a zero emissions future.”
With the release of the T7X, Honeyman said Bobcat will continue, to refine its electric platforms while gauging the success of the new machine over the near-term. In addition to the T7X, the company will be introducing compact electric excavator models to the North American market in 2022.