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JCB launches new electric wheel loader

JCB has upped the ante in the electric market with a new compact wheel loader, Chris McCullough writes

British manufacturer JCB has just launched its first fully electric wheeled loader, the 403E, for the agricultural sector.

With zero emissions and low noise output, this new 403E is ideal for working in livestock buildings, glasshouses and other areas with lots of staff present.

This new model boasts a 20kWh lithium-ion battery pack, said to have the largest capacity in its class, and can match the productivity from the equivalent 403 diesel model.

With the aim of reducing carbon production on farms, the 20kWh lithium-ion battery pack is assembled from proven JCB modules, as pioneered in the company’s existing range of electric equipment.

These batteries, coupled with high efficiency electric motors and optimised traction and hydraulic systems, ensures the loader can work a full day, or 4-5 hours of continuous use in a mixed duty cycle.

In common with the JCB E-Tech range, the 403E has a built-in charger that allows connection to a range of on-site power sources.

A 110V socket will fully charge the batteries in 12 hours, while a 230V industrial or domestic plug will charge the battery pack in just eight hours.

JCB’s off-board rapid charger delivers a full charge from a three-phase supply in just two hours.

The machine is equipped with two independent electric motors, one for the driveline and one for the hydraulics.

The drive motor offers 33.4kW of power and comes with three driving modes that the operator can toggle between using two buttons on top of the joystick.

The fastest option is Hare Mode which has a maximum drive speed of 20km/h, while Tortoise Mode is limited to 8km/h for improved speed modulation.

This contributes to increased battery life with no compromise to lifting performance.

Snail Mode has a 5km/h maximum speed, that can be adjusted in 0.5km/h increments through a new rotary controller and the multifunction display.

This delivers precise speed control for precision driving and inching.

Drive is transmitted through an integrated dropbox to ZF axles that can be supplied with open differentials or with differential locks for maximum traction.

The loader is offered with a choice of narrow

or wide wheels, plus the option of agricultural or industrial tyres, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.

Reach height

Carried over from the 403 diesel model, the loader arms are available in standard and high-lift configurations.

The standard lift arms deliver a pin height of 2.9m, while the high-lift model achieves a 3.1m pin height.

Both loader arm set-ups come with a hydraulic quick hitch as standard and the loader arms provide true parallel lift.

The 403E offers a tipping load of 972kg with pallet forks, within a transport weight of just 2,671kg.

A heavy-duty counterweight is available as an option, increasing the tipping load by 118kg and the transport weight by 121kg.

The machine has a single joystick with a proportional auxiliary controller on top.

An optional second auxiliary roller can be provided, allowing the operator to access all loader functions from one lever for faster operation.

The machine also has a 20kW high efficiency hydraulic pump motor, and the hydraulic system offers two operating modes, controlled by a rocker switch on the main console.

Shovel/bucket mode provides dynamic response, while the fork mode delivers increased precision control.

A programmable constant flow auxiliary feature is also standard, to power motorised attachments such as bedding spreaders used in cubicle houses or open yards, hay and silage bale processors and yard sweepers, with the operator setting the flow rate through the main display and rotary controller.

Optional cab

The 403E is offered with a fixed or folding canopy initially, with a fully glazed cab as an alternative from Q3 of this year.

There is a new multifunction digital display, controlled by the rotary controller to the right of the loader joystick.

The operator can use the rotary controller to set auxiliary hydraulic flow rates, inching travel speeds and other settings within the display.

The monitor also provides all critical machine operating data, including driving mode, state of battery charge and travel speed.

With reduced noise levels and machine vibration, the 403E is a comfortable, highly productive zero-emission loader, capable of working with a range of attachments.

JCB’s local distributor – JCB CEA – says there are no confirmed details of an Australian release date yet.

JCB’s 403E electric wheel loader
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