John Deere's Electrified Excavator Promises To Move Mountains Without Noise or Pollution

Back in 1837, a blacksmith hit the Illinois countryside with a "self-scouring steel plow." Little did we know that a timeless brand would be born. I'm talking about John Deere. Most recently, this manufacturer unleashed news of their next stage in excavator evolution, and might I say, we might be seeing the John Deere name on more than just agricultural, construction, and forestry equipment.
Electric Excavator 6 photos
Photo: John Deere / Edited by autoevolution
Charging StationElectric ExcavatorElectric ExcavatorElectric ExcavatorElectric Excavator
I recently received a message about John Deere's (JD) ventures at CES. Aside from a fertilizer-delivery system known as ExactShot, the construction and agricultural manufacturing powerhouse also showed the world its Electric Excavator. While an EV is nothing new for this team, hold onto your hats because this Deere is bucking all over the place. Let me begin by bringing to light a few things about the excavator, and then we can dive into what JD may be up to in the future.

Now, there isn't much I can tell you about an excavator that you don't already know. They're massive, heavy-duty machines that literally move mountains, little by little. When I was a kid, I used to relate them to something of a tank because of those tracks, and funny enough, I owned a toy excavator myself. Well, some kids grow up and happen to work with these buggers. Others conduct entire businesses around this machine.

This is where JD's electric-powered machine comes in. First and foremost, this isn't the first EV from JD, but as big as it may be, all the effects of electrified magic are in place in the excavator. This means less noise when pushing motors to the limit, less pollution, and, as JD likes to point out, fewer moving parts. The latter is essential in ensuring fewer things go wrong on the job.

Electric Excavator
Photo: John Deere
For companies that utilize excavators for daily activities, the inclination towards electric is meant to help cut costs, lead more sustainable fleets, and "be more productive." The latter may be rather difficult as charging times are something we're all aware of. In short, you'll have to sit around and wait for your EV to charge once the battery is drained.

This is where part two of this excavator's story begins. In 2013, JD introduced its hybrid-electric loaders, and since then, they've focused heavily on electric possibilities. In the process, John Deere has developed a tight-knit relationship with Kreisel. You may have heard of Kreisel in the past as they're responsible for a 55.7 kWh battery system thrown into an e-Golf, and an 80 kWh G-Wagon with a 150 kW fast charge ability. This crew is also responsible for an array of other battery management hardware and software, which I'll touch upon shortly.

The essential news here is that John Deere acquired majority ownership of Kreisel Electric back in late 2021. So, we can be sure to see more and more JD EVs in the near future. After all, there's lots of money to be made in electrification. This is also where Kreisel's magic comes in.

Aside from designing and manufacturing high-density batteries, Kreisel is also responsible for an array of tech that helps batteries perform at optimum levels. Their focus on immersion cooling is one reason Kreisel is so appreciated. If this notion is new to you, the best way to explain the process is to compare it to an air-cooled engine or a liquid-cooled one, just applied to batteries. Basically, a dielectric liquid (often considered an insulator) envelopes heat-producing elements to manage temperatures more efficiently.

Charging Station
Photo: John Deere
As for the excavator, Kreisel's tech is in full swing, ensuring that clients receive "unsurpassed lifetime, enhanced safety, and improved performance for battery-powered equipment." Then there's the whole charging infrastructure, where, yet again, Kreisel's magic is being called upon. Proprietary charge stations seem to accompany your future electric excavator.

So far, there is no information revealed regarding how long it will take to charge the excavator. Nor is there any info revealed on just how long you can operate one with a full charge. The only information hinting at the excavator's abilities are a few lines of text that tell us there will be "lower daily operating costs, reduced job site noise, enhanced machine reliability, and zero emissions, without sacrificing the power and performance they need in a machine." In short, it sounds like future owners of this electrified earth-mover shouldn't feel any drawbacks in terms of productivity. But we all know that this is not true. After all, an EV can't run forever; charge times are a real threat to this equipment.

At the end of the day, we're going to have to wait a tad longer until full specs are available for this machine. But one thing is for sure, John Deere is continuing their adoption of and progression toward a more electrified future. My only question remains whether or not the Deere will be seen on vehicles that don't necessarily have any business on the construction site or farmland. Will we see John Deere-branded cars in the future? Now that's a question to think about on a Saturday.
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Editor's note: Images in the gallery include the excavator's charging station too.

About the author: Cristian Curmei
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A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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