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An Introduction to Electric Construction Vehicles Part 2

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The rising popularity of consumer-grade, electric vehicles has forced a global discussion about the sustainability of vehicles powered by fossil fuels. New electric vehicles, like the Tesla Model 3 and BMW i8, have shown the world that sustainability and style don’t require a compromise. Now, the construction industry hopes to prove that electric construction vehicles can maintain durability and power while reducing emissions by as much as 95 percent.

In part one, the Denver contractor lawyers at Cotney Construction Law introduced electric construction vehicles and explored the “Electric Site,” an emission-free quarry project being spearheaded by Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) and Skanska. Now, we will continue to examine the Electric Site and take a look at constraints and challenges facing this technology.

The Value of Data from the Electric Site

The Electric Site is only one project, so it will take years to develop enough data to prove the efficacy of electric construction vehicles, but Volvo CE’s outlook on the project is immensely positive so far. The manufacturer is confident that data collected from the Electric Site will be quantifiable for use with future projects. By scaling data collected from the Electric Site, researchers and construction professionals will be able to plan for other types of projects beyond those currently taking place in the emission-free Vikan Kross quarry.

In a press release, Volvo CE president Melker Jernberg stated, “We have had to completely rethink the way we work and how we look upon machine efficiency — pushing the boundaries of our competence.”

Constraints and Challenges

Although the success of Electric Site is readily apparent, construction professionals may still face challenges when utilizing electric construction vehicles. One of the most vital constraints facing this technology is battery life. Current batteries are underperforming, which results in slowed construction and time setbacks. Fortunately, Volvo CE claims that their machines will soon be equipped with batteries that provide sufficient power for day-long operations.

Another constraint is the lofty, financial barrier of entry for implementing these new technologies. The cost of replacing all traditional construction vehicles with electric alternatives is simply unfeasible. However, as these technologies are developed and the cost of research and development decreases, more and more building firms will gain access to these sustainable technologies.

One Volvo CE spokesman told Forbes: “Zero-emission construction sites will become more common, so the electrification of construction equipment is the future of the industry. Some authorities have already implemented initiatives stating that low emission or low noise machines should be used on certain job sites.”

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.