Volvo CE’s Electric and Autonomous Heavy Equipment: The Future

With the electrification of cars, buses, trucks and other means of transport, which has been going on for many years, it is only natural that construction machinery also joins it.

The goal of zero emissions, fuel economy and lower noise levels, as well as better feel and handling with comparable power, has led companies like GM to announce their ambitious desire to go all-electric by 2035, phasing out gas and diesel engines.

At Volvo, we’re also committed to sustainable solutions – in fact, we’ve been hard at work for decades developing electric construction equipment that can not only transform current workplaces, but also open up entirely new applications for heavy equipment.

Take a look at our EX03 mid-size electric excavator and TA15 autonomous tractor concepts to see where the future of construction and mining equipment is headed.

We are already well on our way with our revolutionary EC230E Electric Medium Excavator.



The EX03 is a concept battery electric wheeled excavator – the first in our range of mid-sized machines.

As a conceptual laboratory setup is still part of a research project and is not currently commercially available.

It aims to demonstrate how electric propulsion can be used to power medium-sized machines with efficient, durable battery technology.

And the good news is that we have already made significant progress in commercializing a medium-sized electric excavator with our new EC230E Electric.

The EX03 electric drive is designed to deliver the same performance as a 14-tonne diesel machine, but with zero emissions, higher efficiency, lower noise levels and reduced total cost of ownership.

The lower noise level makes this machine better suited for projects such as road construction and site preparation in densely populated urban areas or at night.

Currently, the EX03 can run for a full working day (depending on the machine’s duty cycle) with a one-hour quick charge at midday.

We aim to provide a full day of operation without fast charging in the future.

How does the EX03 Electric Excavator concept put safety first?

As with any Volvo concept, safety is at the heart of its design.

real-time video stream from the front of the car to allow cars behind to see clearly ahead, ideal for use on public highways

and live safety communications, where an operator can make eye contact with pedestrians and workers to reduce misunderstandings (for example, an operator’s text message to pedestrians might read on the screen, “I’m going to stop working so you can cross the street in front of me.”)

The mid-range EX03 excavator can adapt to any site conditions and has the power and durability to work on a variety of jobsites.

Thanks to its zero exhaust emissions, it is the ideal partner for work in cities or places where emission regulations impose construction restrictions.

We are excited about the huge potential of the EXO3 concept as it represents the future for safer and greener construction sites on a larger scale.


The device is now part of TARA’s autonomous transport solution, which consists of several components – base vehicles (multiple TA15s) as well as necessary infrastructure such as charging stations, control tower, connected cloud solutions designed to meet the operational requirements of customers, maintenance and repair support and setting up hands-on activities that vary from location to location.

The intended use of the TA15 is for the transport of materials in repeated streams in confined off-road environments such as quarries.

The number of machines and respective charging stations will depend largely on the target production/transport volumes as well as the transport cycle.

The fleet of TA15 machines will interact closely with relevant loading equipment on site (such as wheel loaders or excavators) and will be monitored and controlled from a central, on-site control room.

TA15 machines are designed for high power charging, which is a natural part of the towing cycle.

This means that machines can in principle be charged in each cycle with the amount of energy they need to power the next cycle.

The charging process is fully autonomous using a 150 kw high power charger which is connected via a pantograph on the ground to the collector on the underside of the TA15.

Charging time varies from approximately one minute to three minutes depending on the amount of energy required.

What are the advantages of an autonomous transport solution?

increased energy efficiency thanks to the electric drive and the innovative design of the base machine

The TA15 concept has performed very well as a prototype during the Electric Site project, clearly confirming its benefits and potential.

Our next steps are to improve system stability, uptime and overall performance to the level necessary to move the concept from a prototype to a commercially viable solution.

And safety, which is and has always been one of Volvo’s core values, is also at the forefront of the TARA solution.

It starts with a fenced/fenced area for autonomous operation.

What does the TARA system mean for conventional diesel-powered machines?

The biggest change moving from traditional transportation solutions to the TARA system is the systems thinking approach.

It’s not just about replacing modern equipment with something new – it’s about changing the way sites operate to take full advantage of what you can get from electrification, automation and connectivity.

We see the TARA solution as an extension of the modern Volvo Group’s offer of transport solutions.

It will help transform the transport industry towards more sustainable solutions.

However, the system may not fit into every environment and customer processes, so we will see diesel or renewable fuel powered trucks in parallel for some time to come.

We also anticipate some changes to the way careers and other client applications work in the future.

This will require different jobs and new competencies, and we will need to work closely with our customers and engaged partners to help implement these changes.

In the meantime, our focus and top priorities are to complete our development, testing and validation process to ensure the successful market introduction of the TARA solution for individual customers.

As we work to bring this solution to market, we will continue to work on many other exciting standalone solutions that will help make future sites more productive, efficient and secure.

You can read more about our move towards electromobility and additional autonomous solutions from Volvo to find out what else is in store for the future of electric and autonomous machines.

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Uve Müller: Uve started his career at Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) in 2006, where he led several research projects that developed new technologies, concept machines and site systems, including the breakthrough study Electric Site.

He is currently head of sales and marketing for off-road solutions at Volvo Automated Solutions, specializing in automation and electrification of construction machinery.

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