Honda and Komatsu team up for electric mini excavator

By Leila Steed14 June 2021

Komatsu micro excavator PC01 powered by Honda Mobile Power Pack. Komatsu micro excavator PC01 powered by Honda Mobile Power Pack.jpg

Honda Motor Co. and Komatsu have partnered to create an electric mini excavator using Honda’s battery pack. The batteries could also be used on other Komatsu construction equipment.

Hiroyuki Ogawa, President and CEO of Komatsu, and Honda’s President and CEO Toshihiro Mibe signed an agreement that will initially see Komatsu’s PC01 micro excavator fitted with Honda’s Mobile Power Pack (MPP) battery and an electrified power unit (eGX).

The deal will, in time, also see the companies explore the “electrification of other micro and mini electric excavators of up to the 1 tonne class” and explore the MPP-based electrification “a variety of equipment used on civil engineering and construction sites, as well as overseas business launches”.

The electrified Komatsu PC01 is expected to be launched by the end of March, 2022. Described by Komatsu as the world’s smallest excavator, it has an operating weight of 380kg and can be transported on a mini pickup truck. 

It standard version was launched in April 2020 in Japan and its electrification will result in a more environmentally friendly machine that is suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications.

The companies said, “Among various construction machines Komatsu offers, the PC01 is most likely to be used for various functions at worksites near people, trees, flowers and ornamental plants, including pipe-laying, landscaping and agricultural and livestock work.”

Honda Mobile Power Pack. Honda Mobile Power Pack.

In addition to no exhaust emissions, the electric model will be quieter.   

“Furthermore, the swappable Honda MPP offers an innate advantage of continuous use of electric machines without recharging the battery”, said the company.

Equipped with the Honda MPP, the PC01 will simplify the power supply and improve convenience for customers.”

Honda and Komatsu will then look at ways to make the battery swapping system more convenient. This will see them provide Honda’s MPPs and aftersales services to companies operating in construction.

As part of the deal Komatsu, which last month revealed its fully electric remote-controlled mini excavator concept machine, will also make its electric micro and mini excavators available more widely and add “a variety of electric equipment on civil engineering and construction sites” to its smart and electric operations.

Honda said, “By adding a wide variety of electrified civil engineering and construction equipment to the smart power operation, which already includes Honda’s electrified mobility and power products, Honda is striving to establish a broad network of MPP-based battery-sharing systems.”  

Like others in the industry, Komatsu and Honda are devoting significant resources to lower carbon emissions and to contribute to a more circular construction economy. 

While Honda recently announced that would expand the supply of its electrified power unit, eGX, for small-sized equipment to OEM customers in Europe, last month Komatsu Europe launched a new net-zero CO2 mobile jaw crusher.

Sharing of electrification technology is becoming more common. Recently, Wacker Neuson and Bomag announced that Bomag would use Wacker Neusen batteries with its rammers.

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