Gas biz gets a lift with new backhoe loader

By David Bertola

National Grid will add an electric backhoe loader to its fleet later this year.

National Grid is finding ways to reduce its carbon output, and a new groundbreaking (literally!) piece of equipment will help the company accomplish its goals. That’s because National Grid is one of the first two energy delivery companies in the country to incorporate a fully electric backhoe loader into its fleet.

The all-electric backhoe loader was built by CASE Construction Equipment after National Grid and AVANGRID requested zero-emission construction equipment to support their efforts to reduce emissions and create more sustainable communities.

National Grid and AVANGRID companies NYSEG/RG&E will use the new backhoe loader as part of their gas construction businesses and plan to move the equipment throughout their service areas for a year of field testing.

CASE’s 580 model, a diesel-powered backhoe loader, was used as the foundation for the project. The company worked with both energy delivery companies to electrify the product in conjunction with Moog Inc., an international designer and manufacturer of advance motion control products, and Green Machine, a Buffalo-based company known for a variety of battery powered products. Among these products are mini excavators, which National Grid has been using since 2016.

The power and performance of the zero-emission 580 EV is equivalent to other diesel-powered backhoes in the CASE product line, but with lower daily operating costs. In addition to cost savings and using less diesel fuel throughout their construction fleets, other benefits of using the 580 EV include:

Safety
The equipment creates a quiet work zone for employees and customers. The reduced noise leads to improved communication among workers. In addition, the worksite is healthier due to the elimination of fossil fuel exhaust.

Emissions reduction
Using battery-operated equipment helps National Grid reach its company-wide emissions target of net zero by 2050, and further supports the company’s initiatives to increase the number of electric vehicles across its service area.

Embracing the future
By purchasing and testing battery-powered construction equipment, National Grid will lead the way for other energy companies as well as businesses in the construction industry by demonstrating and realizing benefits to the environment, customers, communities and employees.

“National Grid has been at the forefront of incorporating battery-powered construction equipment into our business, and CASE’s new backhoe loader directly supports our corporate goal to eliminate company-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” said John Bruckner, National Grid’s New York President. “Electrifying our vehicle fleet is among the many initiatives we’re implementing across our business to achieve this target.  We are proud to be working with CASE and so many other partners to deliver the clean energy future.”

Added Eric Zieser, director, global compact equipment product line, CASE:

“The backhoe loader is perfectly suited for electrification as the varied use cycles, from heavy to light work, provide an excellent opportunity to convert wasted diesel engine hours into zero consumption battery time, yet provide the operator with instantaneous torque response when needed. At low idle a diesel engine has reduced torque and requires time for the engine to ramp up to meet the load demands. Electric motors, on the other hand, have instantaneous torque and peak torque available at every operating speed.”