The construction industry is switching to electric equipment – here's why

June 27, 2023

Electric construction equipment is going to become the norm on job sites – here’s why the industry is making the switch.

From demolition and mining to aerial lift and industrial work, electric construction equipment is actually already being used in the building industry. And as EVs continue to be rapidly adopted overall, electric equipment will be the construction industry’s preferred choice in the near future.

David Knight, CEO of mobility and energy tech firm Terbine, recently gave six reasons why at North America’s largest construction show (which is put on by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers):

Lower operating costs. Most OEMs cite a range of four to eight hours of runtime for “average” use on electric compact equipment, with an eight-hour overnight charge. But there’s no idle on an electric machine, so an operator can get a day or more of productive work out of it. And that saves a lot of money that would have been spent on burning diesel while idling.

Lower maintenance costs. Piston engines have many friction-generating parts that fail. Electric construction equipment doesn’t have this problem.

Federal and state tax credits. Tax credits are bringing serious savings to the table for whole fleets. It’s vital that organizations learn which tax credits they qualify for in order to take full advantage of incentives to go electric.

Carbon credits and offsets. Carbon credits work like permission slips for emissions. When a company buys a carbon credit, usually from the government, it gains permission to generate one ton of CO2 emissions. When a company removes a unit of carbon from the atmosphere as part of their normal business activity, they can generate a carbon offset. Other companies can then purchase that carbon offset to reduce their own carbon footprint. But ultimately, it’s better to reduce emissions by going electric.

ESG goals. Many organizations are setting and working toward Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) goals, and it’s a trend that’s only expected to grow. Without goals and corresponding policies, organizations face ESG risk, which includes loss of investors, a damaged reputation, and fines for regulatory noncompliance.

The equipment keeps getting better. There’s every reason to believe that electric construction equipment and EV chargers will continue to develop and improve over time, thus driving up adoption. It’s “going to be really good in three to five years. That’s going to allow for even faster and more efficient charging than ever before,” Knight said.

Photo: John Deere

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The construction industry is switching to electric equipment – here's why