At a July innovation event at Fargo’s Grand Farm test site, Doosan Bobcat demonstrated the power of a new family of loaders and excavators that harness the benefits of electrification and remote operation.
Bobcat was one of the first in the field to unveil an all-electric compact track loader prototype in 2020. Now, the machine is getting closer to hitting the common work site.
“As the industry leader, we have been looking down the path of electrification for some time. A couple of years ago, we really started getting serious about it,” said Laura Ness Owens, vice president of marketing for Doosan Bobcat North America. “We’re really excited to be at this step of starting to debut our all-electric loader.”
Although no commercial rollout date has been set, the T7X is already impressing crowds lucky enough to see an on-site demonstration. The all-electric loader contains a lithium-ion battery pack that powers the electric drive motors and lift actuators with enough runtime to keep steady strength throughout a typical workday. The only fluid contained in the machine is coolant to cool the electronics. The loader contains no hydraulics system and boasts enhanced precision (the lack of hydraulics allows smooth control) as well as controllability of horsepower.
With added benefits like whisper-quiet operation, powerful torque and lower annual operating costs, Bobcat’s innovation team believes the technology will open some eyes to doing things in a new way.
“Our customers are generally diehard diesel people, and they will be for a long time,” said Bobcat Acceleration Manager Justin Odegaard. “On one side, we have customers who are looking for environmentally friendly, zero emission-type equipment that they can put on a jobsite that fits the eco-friendly requirements of that job. There is demand out there for projects like that. As we started getting into it, what’s more exciting for us is all the advantages that come along with it.”
Bobcat Intelligent Operator was also displayed the Grand Farm event, with features like object avoidance, automated navigation and jobsite mapping. Additionally, Bobcat showed off MaxControl Remote Operation, which allows an operator to use a mobile device to semi-autonomously backfill, load trailers, pick rocks, open gates, avoid debris and more.
Developers know that North Dakota and northern Minnesota may take a little longer than other areas to fully adopt electric and autonomous machinery, but they know the demand will be here sooner than most expect.
“This is our home state. We started this company based on the innovative spirit up here, and we’ve been here for 60-plus years. We’re excited to bring these technologies here,” Ness Owens said. “I think when people see the power that they can get out of the products, when they see the opportunity they provide, they absolutely will take hold and we’ll see more and more of them come into play.”
MAIN IMAGE: The Bobcat team demonstrates the power and control of the all-electric T7X loader at a test site south of Fargo. (Minnkota/Michael Hoeft)