The Honda Komatsu Excavating Venture
The collaboration between KOMATSU and Honda involving a joint development of electric micro excavators is a project that is going disrupt the excavator market in a good way. The micro smaller than mini excavators that are powered by swappable Mobile Power Pack batteries that comes about with a unique battery-sharing system is expected to make waves within the civil engineering and construction industry in an unprecedented manner to say the least. Honda and Komatsu announced the development project TOKYO, Japan in this year and subsequently signed a standard agreement that kicked off the project to electrify Komatsu micro excavators utilizing Honda’s Mobile Power Pack (MPP). The project is not just about the micro or mini excavators according to a senior engineer as it also involves the establishment of an ecosystem that intends to establish a battery-sharing system for the entire construct of the civil engineering and construction industry. The mutual use of Mobile Power Packs among various construction machinery and equipment will bring about changes that will enhance ‘project processes’ and also simultaneously also render these machines to have a low environmental impact.
This joint development of both companies will kick off with the electrification of the Komatsu PC01 micro excavator which is scheduled to be equipped with Honda’s MPPs coupled with eGX (an electrified power unit). The PC01 micro/ mini excavator will be utilized for a variety of functions at worksites that are within close proximity to humans, plants and livestock. The scheduled release into the market or launch of the electrified PC01 is scheduled for March 31, 2022. Among the more significant aspects of the PC 01 includes low noise and exhaust heat output. Apart from that the electrification of excavators in future based on the schematics of the PC01 will have a positive impact on the its environmental impact by realizing “zero exhaust gas emission,” The environment of workers also become much more conducive regardless if its indoors or outdoors work environments. As for the unique features of a swappable battery system, operators would be able to continue using equipment without having to wait for a power pack to recharge in order to continue their tasks and this reduces downtime significantly. The joint venture between Komatsu equipment and Honda Power Packs will render energy supply easier and enhance the level of convenience for customers. The entire scope of the JV of these companies pursues a structure that intends to supply Mobile Power Packs to civil engineering and construction outfits that would further enhance the convenience and use of electrified construction machinery seamlessly via after-sales services which includes the much talked about battery swapping system.
The long-term objectives of the venture looks into the electrification of mini and micro excavators that are categorized under the operating weight of up to 1 ton and subsequently explore possibilities for electrification of numerous other equipment that are commonly used by civil engineering and construction outfits domestically and outside Japan as well. It is expected that electric machinery will make its way into general digger hire services for common use by 2025. All of this is in line with Honda long term goals of establishing a network for MPP-based battery-sharing systems under their zero emissions objectives.