Thinking about heavy-duty equipment? After days of Ford sucking up all the bandwidth with the Mustang Mach E, not to mention Tesla's Cybertruck, it might be a little difficult. Heavy-duty equipment is not nearly as sexy. However, this manufacturing sector is a big part of the US economy.
At construction sites, on farms, in warehouses, this kind of equipment is a frequent sight. They are, most often, powered by diesel engines. And those engines need a lot of maintenance. They’re big, heavy, and cost a small fortune to buy and to service.
They’re also a huge part of the US carbon footprint. The motors that power them are subject to federal emission standards that have been made more stringent in recent years. However, according to the EPA, this type of equipment is still responsible for 23% of greenhouse gas emissions from the US. That’s a huge impact.
Enter Muncie, Indiana based Dannar. Their solution to this pollution problem is electric heavy-duty equipment. They’ve created a single platform that can be easily modified to do any number of jobs. For instance, their flagship product, the Dannar 4.00, can accept over 250 attachments from CAT, John Deere, or Bobcat. Because this is a simple skateboard-like platform, owner-operators can do this work themselves in almost no time.
It’s a one-vehicle, many machines type of solution. That means a backhoe that’s useful all summer long, can be quickly and easily converted into a snowplow for winter. That’s one example but there are countless others. Having interoperability with so many different types of equipment, one platform can easily perform many tasks over the course of a year. This is a huge win for cash strapped municipalities. Why would a company or municipality opt to have a backhoe parked all winter long when it could be doing another job?
Add to that the fact that diesel equipment isn’t easy to store and usually requires service to get it running when it’s time to be used again. Unlike diesel equipment, the Dannar only requires 2 hours of annual maintenance. That means there’s limited downtime along with big savings on service.
That’s groundbreaking in itself. However, this platform can do a whole lot more than just be a multipurpose piece of heavy equipment. And this is where it gets quite exciting. The Dannar 4.00 can also be a mobile power source. When storms strike, the Dannar can be dispatched to provide electricity to stricken areas. And multiple Dannars tied together can create micro-grids. There’s even an available solar canopy available to boost its sustainability.
At the heart of the Dannar 4.00 is the battery pack from the BMW i3. The standard model comes with three 42 kWh battery packs for a total of 126 kWh. That’s expandable right up to 625 kWh per machine. According to Dannar, this gives the 4.00 8-10 hours of operation on average. That, of course, depends on the work it’s doing.
That’s impressive. However, this same piece of equipment can power a cell tower for 12 days. The power export panel is capable of being configured with multiple 110VAC and 208VAC outlets. It’s also capable of charging and being charged via CCS at 60 kW.
That, in turn, means that it can also be a mobile charging station for EVs. Founder Gary Dannar points out “It’s immediate and it’s easy to relocate.” To his point, the installation of charging stations requires permitting and extensive infrastructure to get a station operational. That can take 12 -18 months. Deployed as a charging solution, the Dannar can be available immediately.
Mr. Dannar goes on to say “This is an easy way to deploy temporary charging.” His point is illustrated by California’s recent widespread power outages to reduce the risk of fires caused by downed power lines. With increasing numbers of people driving EVs, having a temporary charging solution helps people get where they need to go. “Mobile car charging is considered infrastructure and emergency equipment.”
With the addition of the solar canopy, charging infrastructure can be placed wherever it’s needed, done so very quickly, and for a much smaller expenditure.
So, this is a zero-emission 13,000-pound vehicle that has a towing capacity of 600,000 pounds. Equipped as a forklift, it has a 13,000-pound capacity. And, on top of this brute strength, it can be operated via remote control. That means in potentially dangerous situations, the operator can be at a safe distance. It’s also capable of being submerged in up to four feet of water, has four-wheel drive, and four-wheel steering.
Electrification has made a significant impact on what we drive to work but has yet to significantly impact what folks drive once they get to work. Along with the semi-truck efforts lead by Tesla and Nikola, Dannar is leading the way into electrifying America’s worksites. The economics that drive their adoption are no different than those the drive the adoption of electric cars. They’re cheaper to run and service. And with the continuing decline in battery prices, they’re bound to extend the savings between them and their internal combustion competition in the future.
Each piece of old and outdated diesel equipment that’s replaced with an electric equivalent is a big win for air quality. Combine this with the financial benefits for municipalities, corporate America, and mobile charging possibilities, the wins only get better.