VolvoCE Electric Machines set to work in a US Federal Nature Refuge
Located just 20 miles outside the nation’s capital, the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge offers a sanctuary to wildlife and a place for people to explore nature.
A battery-powered, zero-emission ECR25 Electric compact excavator and L25 Electric compact wheel loader made by Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) are being used to build a new ADA accessible trail in the refuge.
Construction of the trail supports the conservation mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the National Wildlife Refuge System — a network of 567 refuges across the U.S. that offer access to a host of popular activities while providing vital habitat for thousands of wildlife species.
“We are excited to partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on this project to demonstrate Volvo’s commitment to lowering emissions and working to build the future we all want and need,” said Ray Gallant, VP of Product Management and Productivity, Volvo CE.
These are the first pieces of electric heavy equipment to be used on a project by a federal agency. This pilot helps the Service explore ways to minimize its own carbon footprint in natural areas and reduce the emissions produced while maintaining public lands. It also provides Volvo CE valuable feedback on electric equipment performance.
The project supports the Biden-Harris administration’s America the Beautiful initiative to pursue a locally led, and voluntary, nationwide effort to conserve, connect and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife upon which we all depend.
Work began Nov. 8 and is expected to take approximately two weeks to complete. Work is being done by a Service Maintenance Action Team that pulls skilled trade employees from various refuges for a short period.
Reducing air and noise pollution
Projects like the one at the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge give a glimpse of how electric machines can create a more climate-friendly future for the construction industry.
The L25 Electric compact wheel loader is being used to haul and lay down gravel for a wheelchair-accessible half-mile trail around a pond and to clear brush. The ECR25 Electric compact excavator is digging trenches to improve drainage from the pond and helping to build a viewing platform over the pond.
The Volvo electric machines produce zero emissions and have significantly lower noise levels than diesel machines. These qualities are especially beneficial when working in a natural area like the refuge, which is home to a diverse array of grasslands, wetlands and woods that attract red foxes, painted turtles, osprey, river otters and countless other species.
The project also tested the portable EV ARCTM solar-powered charging system from Beam Global to further reduce fossil fuel involvement on the jobsite. Beam Global is a leader in electric vehicle charging and has partnered with Volvo CE on other projects.
The ECR25 and L25 Electric machines will be commercially available in the U.S. in early 2022.