The construction sector is responsible for about 40% of world emissions, which is far more than any other industry. To mitigate its impact, Bobcat introduced the T7X, the first fully electric compact track loader, last year. These loaders are typically seen on construction sites, where they are used to haul heavy objects from one location to another. The T7X from Bobcat was named the winner of the Transportation category for Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Award.
Bobcat has not only converted the vehicle’s diesel engine to electric power but also its hydraulic system, making use of less hazardous fluids.
The T7X only needs 1.5 gallons of propylene glycol coolant (approved by the FDA) and less than 2 ounces of gearbox oil to operate, while a standard diesel loader needs approximately 60 gallons of fluids. These upgrades reduce both air and noise pollution on construction sites, which are frequently situated in highly populated urban areas. The car has 40% fewer parts, which simplifies maintenance and minimizes the likelihood of needing to replace parts, both of which are good for the environment.
One of the major equipment rental businesses in the United States, Sunbelt Rentals, has purchased a fleet of these vehicles for its California facilities. Bobcat’s vice president of worldwide innovation, Joel Honeyman, claims that construction workers tend to be skeptical of “sustainable” solutions. To which I reply, “That’s just the world we live in,” he replies. People need a lot of education, so we should put them in the seat and let them try it out.