April 04, 2023 Volume 19 Issue 13

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Bobcat unveils world's first all-electric skid-steer loader -- and autonomous loader concept too

The world of construction equipment and off-road machinery is going electric too. Farm and construction equipment maker Bobcat unveiled two new all-electric machines recently at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 show in Las Vegas.

Following the 2022 release of the Bobcat T7X, the world's first all-electric compact track loader, Bobcat has now unveiled the world's first all-electric skid-steer loader, the Bobcat S7X. The company also showed off the Bobcat RogueX, a futuristic all-electric autonomous concept machine with dual lift-arm geometry.

Bobcat's S7X all-electric skid-steer loader is coming to job sites soon. [Credit: Bobcat]



The S7X is is powered by a 60.5-kWh, lithium-ion battery, features electric drive motors, and utilizes ball screw actuators for lift and tilt functions. Bobcat said the battery and electrical powertrain "generate incredible performance characteristics, with instantaneous torque that is as much as three times greater than traditional loaders." The design of the loader aims to balance sustainability and performance with zero emissions and is equipped to outperform its diesel-powered equivalent. The skid-steer loader offers operators a smooth and comfortable experience with minimal vibration and nearly silent operation (which we think is great for operators but not always so great for worker safety around the machinery).

The S7X can operate for up to 8 hours on a single charge depending on the application, giving most operators more than a full day's work when breaks and downtime are considered. A full charge takes approximately 10 hours. Bobcat said its T7X track loader, which is built using about 50% fewer parts than its diesel equivalent, has worked out to cost about one-tenth the amount of running a comparable diesel machine. Many non-hydraulic Bobcat attachments will work with the Bob-Tach system on both the T7X and S7X. Bobcat said it is working on a new line of electric attachments.

SunBelt Rentals is the first national customer to receive the T7X loader. It costs around $200,000, according to Engineering News-Record (which also says the high initial price should fall, which a good thing being it is over three times the cost of a basic Bobcat loader model). The elimination of the main, traditional hydraulic systems is a win on many levels.

"As the inventor of the original skid-steer loader, we are excited to take the machine that created the industry and reinvent it all over again," said Joel Honeyman, Doosan Bobcat vice president of global innovation. "The S7X is an incredible product with real-world application that can support operators on environmentally sensitive sites, in noise-restricted areas, and for indoor operation."

To bring the S7X to life, Bobcat partnered with Moog, Inc., a worldwide developer of motion control components and systems for industries ranging from aerospace and defense to construction. Bobcat is also continuing to partner with Viridi (creator of Green Machine products) for its lithium-ion, fail-safe battery systems. Bobcat also collaborated with Moog and Viridi on the T7X.

Bobcat's all-electric RogueX autonomous is a concept project that has eliminated the operator cab in favor of remote control. [Credit: Bobcat]



Heavy-duty remote control
Bobcat described the RogueX as "a one-of-a-kind conceptual machine." While most closely resembling a track loader, the machine is in a category all its own.

As a research and development project, the machine was built to be a proving ground to advance the Bobcat innovation roadmap, evaluate customer perceptions, and test the limits of machine functionality.

"RogueX was concepted with consideration for the worksite of the future and how a customer's needs may evolve, with a focus on ease of use, remote operations, autonomous functionality, sustainable operations, and features that allow operators to accomplish more with one machine," said Honeyman.

As jobsites change and operators turn to remote operation, Bobcat took its concept further by fully eliminating an operator station. The machine explores the idea of operating where humans cannot go to tackle more work in more places than ever from a remote position.

By building the loader without a cab and using advanced kinematics, RogueX features next-generation unique functionality including both vertical-path and radial-path lift capabilities in one machine.

The all-electric and autonomous concept machine produces zero emissions onsite by using a lithium-ion battery, electric drive system, and no hydraulics.

The S7X skid-steer loader debuted as a prototype with plans to move to commercialization. RogueX is in the early research and development stage at Bobcat. No additional details on future commercialization are available at this time.

Learn more, including machine specs, at bobcat.com/na/en/equipment/future-products/t7x-s7x-all-electric-compact-loaders.

Sources: Bobcat, Engineering News-Record (price only)

Published April 2023

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