Volvo Construction Equipment's latest concept machine – known as the EX2 - is a 100% electric compact excavator prototype designed to deliver zero emissions, 10 times higher efficiency, 10 times lower noise levels and reduced total cost of ownership compared to its conventional counterparts. It is believed to be the world’s first fully electric compact excavator prototype. 

The Volvo Group defines electromobility as ‘commercial vehicles and machines that can utilize an electrical motor to propel or to perform the main purpose of the machine’. To make the EX2 prototype fully electric, the combustion engine has been replaced with two lithium ion batteries, totaling 38KWh, which store enough electric energy to operate the machine for eight hours in an intense application, such as digging compact ground. The hydraulic architecture has also been replaced with electric architecture which incorporates electromechanical linear actuators that help to optimize the transmission chain. Removing the hydraulic system and the combustion engine, as well as reducing the cooling needs, has led to significantly lower noise levels. At this stage, the EX2 is purely a research project and there are currently no plans for industrialization.

The EX2 stemmed from the company’s earlier ELEXC research project, which was partly financed by the French government as well as various funding bodies in France. Volvo CE worked with a team of six partner companies which all contributed towards the €7m project. The ELEXC work started in 2012 and concluded in 2015, Volvo CE has since been working on other research projects connected to the EX2, such as durability tests.