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Best Practices

How to Operate Electric Construction Equipment in Winter

ASC BestPractices Index V1

How to Operate Electric Construction Equipment in Winter

Electric construction equipment is growing in popularity. Builders and contractors are turning to them in order to lower their operating costs and reduce their environmental impact. Modern electric machines offer a similar level of performance as their diesel counterparts on site development, utility, landscaping, and a wide variety of other jobs. But they are more heavily affected by cold weather than diesel models.

In order to maintain their performance during the winter months, follow these tips and best practices for operating electric excavators, electric wheel loaders, and other types of machines in the cold.

Charge your machines inside, if possible
Cold temperatures will increase the amount of time it takes for your electric construction equipment to fully charge. By charging your machines indoors at room temperature, the batteries should reach a full charge as quickly as they do during the summer months. If it is too cold outside, then attempting to charge your batteries could damage them. However, most new machines will have sensors that prevent charging or operation if the temperatures are too low.

Store electric construction equipment indoors
In addition to charging your electric excavators, electric wheel loaders, and other machines inside, we also recommend storing them indoors when you can. Although your equipment is designed to handle relatively cold weather, when the temperatures drop into the low teens or single digits, battery performance can suffer. By storing your equipment inside and starting the work day with the batteries at room temperature, it will take longer before they reach the outdoor ambient temperature and their performance decreases.

Watch your run time
Equipment run times can be significantly lower in frigid temperatures compared to working in the warmer months. Before choosing electric wheel loaders or electric excavators for winter work, consider what jobs you’re completing and how long you’ll need to operate. For example, Volvo electric compact wheel loaders have an average run time of four to six hours, but these numbers may be even lower if the battery is operating in an outdoor ambient temperature of 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Consider your attachments
In general, diesel machines can typically use more powerful attachments than electric construction equipment. When you are determining which plows, snow pushers, snow blowers, or other winter attachments to use, double check to make sure your machine can handle it or whether you have to choose a smaller option.

If you have any questions about operating electric construction equipment in the winter months, contact our team today.