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“Green & Mean”: Avant Delivers Most Power for Size to New Compact Loaders

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Avant Tecno says its new compact articulated wheel loaders are the most powerful in their size class.

The 645i and 650i run on new 44-horsepower Kubota engines, an 18-horsepower boost over the earlier 600 Series machines, the 630 and 635.

That gives the new loaders 203 pound-feet of pulling force and 87 pound-feet of torque.

The loaders weigh around 3,600 pounds. That makes them easy to transport and able to ride on sensitive terrain, Avant says.

They also have standard 23.6-inch telescopic lifting booms and can reach a lift height of 9.3 feet to the hinge pin of the attachment coupling plate. The tipping load is 2,624 pounds, which Avant says is achieved by a low center of gravity and a rigid articulation joint.

The hydraulic boom automatically self-levels to keep the load horizontal when being lifted and lowered, Avant says. Articulated steering enables the loader to turn without leaving tire marks. Each wheel has its own hydraulic drive motor.

Avant Tecno new 650i compact wheel loader extended boomThe new Avant loaders have a hinge-pin height of over 9 feet.Avant Tecno

The 645i is a single-speed machine with top speed of 8 mph, while the 650i has two speeds and can travel up to 15.5 mph. Auxiliary hydraulic oil flow is 19.8 gallons per minute and can run most of Avant’s 200-plus attachments, the company says.

The standard version loaders come with open ROPS/FOPS cabs. Customers can upgrade to the L-Cab, which offers protection from the wind and rain, or the new GT cab with heating, sound- and vibration-absorption, windscreen washer and wiper, cab air filter, and front and rear mudguards. Air conditioning is optional.

Avant says the machines provide operators unrestricted views to the attachment and work area.

Avant Tecno new 650i compact wheel loader shoveling snowThe articulate compact wheel loaders can run a multitude of hydraulic attachments.Avant TecnoThe 4-cylinder turbocharged engine meets Tier 4 Final standards by diesel oxidation catalyst and particulate filter. It does not require additives like AdBlue, the company says. The transmission is hydrostatic.

The loaders come with Avant’s quick attachment plate. Hydraulic quick locking of the locking pins is also available. Hydraulic hoses are attached to the loaders’ standard multi-connector.

Production on the new loaders is set for fall.

Avant Tecno new 650i compact wheel loader side viewAvant Tecno

Quick specs

Avant Tecno new compact wheel loaders spec chartAvant Tecno

 

 

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Volvo electrifies 22-metric-ton excavator

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Taking the next step to battery power for its machine lineup, Volvo Construction Equipment has electrified its first large crawler excavator as a customer pilot.

Designed and built at the Volvo facilities in Changwon, South Korea, the 22-metric-ton EC230 electric excavator, which is not yet commercially available, has been tested by customers in South Korea and China. Now the EC230 E machines are due to come to North America for demos.         

Studio shot (white background) of Volvo EC230E excavatorThis marks the first large excavator that Volvo has electrified.Volvo CE

Remi Teysseire, excavator product manager, discussed some of the high points of the EC230 at the recent Volvo Days event. 

During his presentation, he said it offers the same features as the EC220, the diesel-powered conventional excavator in the same size class. 

“We can bring the same tool size. We have the same digging forces, the same lifting capacities with the added value to have less noise and zero emissions,” Teysseire said. 

With its battery power, the excavator is expected to achieve 60-70% reduction of energy running costs compared to the EC220. Teysseire said the EC230 E is equipped with four 66-kilowatt lithium-ion battery packs that enable the operator to work four to five hours in general purpose applications. With a high-power fast charge on a lunch hour, the machine should last through a full eight-hour shift.

He said Volvo is working on various power supply options for jobsites, including a faster charger and onboard chargers, which some of the machines are already equipped with. 

Hydraulic pumps are identical to those for the EC220, providing the same performance, except they are now driven by an electric motor. “We are consuming electricity only when the operator needs to work with the machine,” Teysseire said. “In other words, the idle time is gone.”

The EC230 E marks the first time Volvo CE has developed electric customer pilot machines for China. These excavators are not commercially available yet, but during this research phase, Volvo CE aims to mature them quickly so that they can be commercialized as soon as possible. The machine was first showcased at bauma China 2020.

“China is the largest electromobility market globally and a leading producer of electromobility components, which provides the demand and means to manufacture a machine locally,” said Mats Sköldberg, head of technology at Volvo CE China. “In addition, China has an industrial strategy to decrease dependence on diesel and so the electromobility market is expected to move quicker. These factors make China the perfect place to test our new machines and gain valuable customer feedback.” 

Earlier this year, Volvo CE opened orders for its newest electric machines, the L20 electric compact wheel loader and the EC18 and ECR18 electric compact excavators. Deliveries of the three newest models to North American customers will begin in 2023.

According to Volvo, as development of the electric machines continues, the diesel versions of Volvo’s compact equipment will be phased out. The compact line of electric equipment is only the first in the line as engineers develop the systems for larger construction machines such as the EC230 E.

“These new machines will drive our activity in a new era,” Teysseire said.

Check out the video below for an intro to the EC230.

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Sany Group enters electric pickup race

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Sany Group, a Chinese construction equipment and large truck manufacturer, is reportedly getting into the electric pickup truck race.

Over the past two months, two sets of images of futuristic-looking electric pickup truck models from Sany have leaked from China’s patent bureau office, according to CarNewsChina. It appears the construction equipment manufacturer is going all-in on a new venture.

Sany’s plans for either design that have been unveiled remain unknown. It is possible both models, which have a more futuristic vibe with one being a sportier style, may be brought to the market, or both could remain design concepts and be used only as promotional tools. 

Still, according to CarNewsChina, it is possible Sany will unveil these electric pickups in November at the Guangzhou Auto Show. For now, these trucks are not expected to be a U.S.-focused product and may only be available in China and elsewhere overseas for testing and release first. Sany North America currently is not involved with this product and has no information on it.

The patent for the pickup is held by Hunan Xingbida Network Technology, which was launched in 2019 with Sany Group as the sole shareholder.

Sany Group electric truck preliminary design photosResembling the Tesla Cybertruck, it appears Sany is going for more of the futuristic style versus the standard truck look.CarNewsChinaPreliminary images leaked in early May had the truck branded as Sany, not Xingbida. The initial set of images have a very futuristic vide, reminiscent of the concept images of the Tesla Cybertruck except a bit bulkier. No specifications are currently available in terms of bed length, anticipated towing capacities or mileage. 

In the first set of images, the vehicle is shown as a two-door vehicle with a large front, low roof and short bed. Side images appear to suggest good ground clearance, and overall, it does appear smaller than a regular full-size pickup.

The second set of images features a more colorful and sportier version of the original concept. Most of the images show a two-door, but this set included one four-door version. Sideview of Sany Group's preliminary electric truck conceptThe sideview of the preliminary concept suggests reasonable ground clearance, a large front, low roof and shorter bed.CarNewsChina

As shared online by CarNewsChina, the unique design features an illuminated Sany badge, small headlights and LED daytime running lights, two large tow hooks and a winch on the front end. The images also show the Sany truck with pronounced front and rear wheel arches that are finished in gray to contrast the rest of the truck’s red paint. It appears to have pop-out handles, that sit flush with the bodywork and has a set of large side steps and handles on the C-pillars.

A shark-fin style antenna maintains the sleek design of the truck, although the sporty red version seems slightly more truck-like versus the more futuristic preliminary photos. Lastly, the sport version noticeably includes a tow hook.

In recent years, a growing number of automotive companies have released or announced intentions of upcoming electric pickup trucks. Some of the models expected to hit the market soon include the 2022 Rivian R1T; 2022 GMC Hummer EV; 2023 Tesla Cybertruck; 2023 Bollinger B2; 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning; 2024 Ram 1500 Electric; and 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.

Front end image of sport Sany Electric TruckThe unique design features an illuminated Sany badge, small headlights, and LED daytime running lights which resemble eyebrows, two large tow hooks and a winch on the front end.CarNewsChina

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New V8 Ford Raptor R makes surprise appearance

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Eat my dust.

Not sure if Ford will be adding that classic snub to its marketing lexicon but you can’t help but think they might be considering it following a recent surprise Raptor R visit that left journalists staring at a huge cloud of dust. 

Fox News auto reporter Gary Gastelu reported recently that the V8-powered truck roared into view while reporters were attending a Ford Bronco R event in Johnson Valley, California. 

“An F-150 Raptor R came storming through the desert past the assembled journalists, but not closely enough for them to get a good look,” writes Gastelu who went on to say that the sound of the truck’s V8 “could not be missed.”

Ford CEO Jim Farley tweeted a brief video that shows reporters parked in a lineup of Bronco R’s as the Raptor R blasts into view and does a monster slide and donut before roaring out of view (see video below). 

Ford’s marketing folks definitely get a big thumbs up for pulling off such a surprising and dramatic entrance. Doubtless, the buzz would have been even bigger if the truck jumped over the current Raptor while AC/DC’s classic “For Those About to Rock” jammed inside those Bronco Rs. Yeah…that would have been the best OEM event ever, even besting the helicopter drop of Chevy’s 2019 Silverado Z71 Trail Boss reveal nearly five years back at the Texas Motor Speedway. 

Though Ford’s not talking numbers yet, everyone knows that they need to best Ram’s amazing 702-horsepower TRX. Motorheads were thrilled when Ford rolled out its 7.3-liter Godzilla V8 a few years ago. The big block can be spec’d in Ford’s Super Duty trucks and is available as a crate engine for “those about to rock,” since as Hot Rod magazine put it, the engine “packs monster potential.” 

But arguably there’s been more fingers pointing toward Ford’s other V8s, namely their 5.0- and 5.2-liter. Those engines would cut weight over the TRX’s hefty supercharged 6.2-liter. I’m not so sure though that either the 5.0 or 5.2 would prove all that helpful in reducing the lawn dart effect, that is the tendency of a front-heavy truck to want to nose-dive when airborne. 

Power opportunities with either the 5.0 or 5.2 look promising. Hennessey was able to squeeze 758 horses out of its 5.0-liter V8 Velociraptor, which gives it a 56-horsepower advantage over the TRX. 

Of course, though they’re a little late to the super truck segment, you have to wonder what Chevy has in store. The big reveal of the Silverado ZR2 Bison will take place this summer. Car & Driver reported that the “Silverado ZR2’s 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8, spool-valve dampers, knobby 33-inch all-terrain tires, and electronic locking front and rear diffs should go untouched.” 

Right off the bat, in terms of power, that would put the Silverado Bison behind the TRX and the Raptor, so I’m not so sure I’m buying into the notion of a 420-horsepower V8. Regardless, what an impressive and historic time for pickups. More power and features keep coming. The downside though is historic inflation, which includes crazy high fuel prices like a never-before-seen national average of over $5 a gallon for regular. 

Yes, surging fuel costs make all-electric pickups look more attractive, and with their head-snapping instant torque, it may not be long before they snatch those “eat my dust” trophies away from their ICE counterparts. But getting airborne in an EV? While it won’t be as front heavy and thus as prone to lawn-dart landings, I just don’t like the idea of catching air with a lithium-ion battery pack that, if cracked, can turn into a monstrous torch. I’d rather wait for nonflammable and more powerful solid-state packs. That will obviously take some time, but there’s no doubt that they’re coming.

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