Wacker Neuson’s decision to introduce its all-electric EZ17e to the Southern African market was driven by the feature-rich mini-excavator’s ability to meet the efficiency, productivity, and environmental goals of the construction, agricultural and mining industries.
“In principle, the EZ17e is fit to operate on all construction sites where the diesel-powered machine would be used,” states Dennis Vietze, Managing Director of Wacker Neuson Sub Saharan Africa. With no direct exhaust emissions and particularly low noise levels, the machine is ideal for construction and renovation tasks in interior and noise-sensitive areas such as urban settings and nature conservancies. Dennis adds, “Bearing in mind that one litre of diesel can contaminate one million litres of water, the battery-driven EZ17e presents the optimum solution for areas such as water preservation where fuel spillage cannot be tolerated.”
Agriculture and mining, two of South Africa’s largest sectors, also present massive opportunities for the machine. Wacker Neuson felt that it was essential for the mini-excavator to undergo testing to determine its value-adding capabilities in these sectors. “So we decided to turn to two of our distributor partners, AFGRI and Maucal Mining & Minerals, who conducted the tests in Q4 2022. AFGRI has excellent strategic representation in several locations throughout the country and Maucal Mining & Minerals boasts a solid reputation as a well-known player in the mining sector.”
One of Maucal Mining & Minerals’ clients put the machine through its paces in a construction application, backfilling gravel around a concrete floor. AFGRI tested the EZ17e in an orchard and farming environment in the greater Caledon area, digging and backfilling a trench.
Dennis affirms that positive feedback was received from both distributors. Maucal reported that the EZ17e is small, easy to use, and powerful, rating the machine’s digging power, handling, and ergonomics as good. AFGRI described the excavator EZ17e as a full-spec machine with all the functions, more than one would normally expect from a mini-excavator. They also mentioned that the machine has more digging power compared to competitor machines in the same class.
“As one of the directors at Maucal Mining & Minerals, I am pleased to report that we received positive feedback from our client following the tests,” states Louis Calitz. “In fact, the machine exceeded our client’s expectations! The machine’s technology and performance impressed our client during the testing process and they highlighted its reliability, efficiency, and power. Southern Africa is a rapidly developing region with a growing demand for infrastructure development and construction.”
“However, the region is also facing increasing pressure to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The subsequently growing demand for environmentally friendly and lower emission construction equipment makes the EZ17e an attractive option.”
“At Maucal Mining & Minerals, we remain committed to offering our clients the latest and most innovative machinery in the industry,“ continues Louis. “This all-electric, mini-excavator represents a significant step forward in construction machinery technology. We are proud to offer this innovative machine to our clients and are confident that the EZ17e will continue to perform exceptionally well in various applications and industries.”
According to Phillip Liebenberg, Area Marketer – AFGRI Caledon, the EZ17e was expected to pass at least three basic features during testing namely, adequate operating time, machine power, and machine specifications and functions. “The EZ17e comes with all of the basic specifications expected from a > 2-ton excavator and seems to be fitted with generally better specifications than most competitors. An additional specification that is not standard on most machines is the track’s extension and retraction capability. This unit is also fitted with boom sway which facilitates digging alongside walls.” Philip adds that operator comfort is also said to be better than most other brand machines.
“The market for electric equipment in the agriculture sector is very vibrant, especially if one looks at the European green policies that aim to drive a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030,“ continues Phillip. “This may not be of direct consequence to South Africa but if you factor in that many of our HVC (High-Value Crop) producers export produce to European countries, these requirements will play a big role in accessing these markets. This is a good machine and a good asset to have for any company that works with civil and construction projects. These machines have a certain future in the agricultural sector.”
The EZ17e features outstanding ergonomics, ease of handling, and cost efficiency. Moreover, the EZ17e does not require the typical maintenance work demanded by conventional machines such as engine oil and filter replacement, saving operators on service material costs and boosting uptime and productivity.
The EZ17e is powered by an integrated, advanced 23.4 kWh lithium-ion battery. The generous battery capacity ensures that the hydraulic functions are available for a complete shift with the same performance as a conventional model. Dennis points out however that the operating time of the excavator is application dependent. The battery can be used either without a power cable or can be charged at power sources (from 100-415V) in ongoing operation during stationary activities. Additionally, the battery can be charged at a household outlet (110-230V) or by quick charging with a high-voltage current (up to 415V) in only four hours.
“To address the challenge of a battery-electric machine’s dependency on an electric source for recharging or stationary work whilst operating in remote locations, Wacker Neuson introduced the Charging Box at Bauma, Munich, in October last year and which will soon be reaching our shores. This ‘power bank’ for the construction site can provide electric power for intermediate charging.”
“The positive feedback we received from both our distributors confirms the tremendous capabilities of this remarkable machine and its potential in the afore-mentioned sectors,” concludes Dennis. “The EZ17e presents us with an ideal platform to gain traction with battery-driven Compact Equipment in the Sub-Saharan Africa region; it is a machine that will convince our clients of the many advantages of our zero emission products.”