Komatsu and Proterra announced a collaboration agreement on battery systems for electric construction equipment. The plan is to use Proterra's batteries (and peripherals) in upcoming Komatsu small and medium-sized hydraulic excavators.
Komatsu has already launched the PC30E-5 electric mini excavator, but in the next couple of years, it would like to expand to bigger excavators. Proterra, known mostly from its electric buses, has developed an offer of customizable battery packs for OEMs, which might be a perfect fit for Komatsu.
The first step of the partnership will be the development of a proof-of-concept electric excavator in 2021. As we can see on the concept image, multiple Proterra battery packs are stacked together to provide required energy and power level.
The commercial production of the new all-electric excavators is expected to start in 2023-2024, after trials.
"Komatsu will utilize Proterra’s high-performance battery systems for the development of a proof-of-concept electric excavator in 2021 before expected commercial production in 2023 to 2024. The Proterra battery system powering the electric excavator will feature high energy density and fast charging technology."
"Engineered and manufactured in the U.S., Proterra battery packs leverage industry-leading energy density and a customizable design to fit within a variety of vehicles. The packaging flexibility of Proterra’s battery platform will further enable the optimal placement of the batteries within the middle class excavator and replace the need for a normal counterweight used to balance the excavator’s hydraulic arm movements."
It sounds like a perspective business for Proterra, but probably needs at least a couple more years before take off.