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Hitachi’s First 3 Excavators Since Deere Split Unveiled for U.S.

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Hitachi has unveiled three new excavators for the U.S. market, the company’s first North American excavator launch since the end of its manufacturing agreement with John Deere.

Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas had a 33-year marketing and manufacturing agreement with Deere in which the companies jointly produced excavators at plants in North Carolina, Canada and Brazil. On February 28, the agreement was officially dissolved and Deere has since purchased the plants for producing its own brand of excavators. Hitachi and Deere have a new supply agreement for Deere excavators.

Last week at its Newnan, Georgia, headquarters, Hitachi rolled out its first set of independently produced excavators for North America. They were made in Japan and imported here. The three models are the ZX50U-5N and ZX26U-5N compact excavators and the 25-ton ZX210LC-6 HP.

ZX210LC-6 HP

hitachi ZXC210LC excavator with bucket full of dirtHitachi ZX210LC-6 HPHitachiHitachi says its new 25-ton ZX210LC-6 HP offers best-in-class power and speed.

It runs on a 163.6-horsepower Isuzu 4-cylinder engine. Hitachi says the engine has several features to improve performance:

  • Variable geometry turbocharger that delivers an optimum quantity of air to the combustion chamber under all the engine’s operating ranges.
  • Electronically controlled common-rail fuel injection system that delivers a precise quantity of pressurized fuel to achieve efficient combustion and reduce fuel consumption.
  • Combustion chamber with a diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating for reduced wear.
  • Revised piston shape for cleaner emissions.
  • Electronic governor to maintain a constant speed despite load changes. This can reduce fuel consumption and noise in no-load and light-duty operations.
  • Engine warm-up system that automatically increases engine speed in cold weather to quickly heat up the hydraulic oil and coolant.

In HP Mode, engine speed and hydraulic pump output-torque increase. The front attachment moves faster because each actuator has its own pump, the company says, so hydraulic oil flows separately to the bucket, arm and boom cylinders. The TRIAS II hydraulic system has three pumps supplying the oil to the actuators and are designed to reduce fuel consumption and deliver precise flow for better attachment control.

An arm recirculation cancellation system increases speed when rolling the arm in when working with lighter loads. A hydraulic boost system increases arm speed. The systems are designed for more efficient use of hydraulic oil. The excavator also has two extra spools in the control valve for easier installation of large-flow attachments.

The cab is equipped with a 7-inch multifunction LCD monitor. It displays the Aerial Angle peripheral vision camera system, which includes a surround option that gives a 270-degree view of the excavator’s immediate surroundings. Other view options are rear right, and rear right and left.

Hitachi says it has make it one of the quietest cabs on the market. The suspension seat is adjustable and has an integrated control console.

Hitachi improved access to all the service points, including filters. Engine oil and coolant levels can be checked on the cab’s touchscreen monitor.

The undercarriage includes several improvements for durability:

  • Increased crossbeam size and strength.
  • Changed shape of the lower roller to prevent mud from entering it and damaging the oil seal.
  • Enlarged sliding surface of the bearing part that supports the front idler to increase its wear resistance.
  • Integrated the front idler and adjuster cylinder to improve their durability.

The model comes with Hitachi’s telematics Global e-Service for remote monitoring via Owner’s Site and ConSite, which tracks such data as idle time, operating time and fuel efficiency. It also alerts to upcoming maintenance needs and helps maximize machine efficiency and minimize downtime, Hitachi says.

ZX50U-5N

Hitachi Z50U-5N compact excavator digging mudHitachiThe 5-ton ZX50U-5N has a reduced tail swing, independent swing boom and 360-degree rotation for working in tight spaces.

Hitachi says it can also work well around utilities due to its operator visibility and precise control. It can load trucks and work in wide open spaces as well. It has a maximum reach of 19 feet 7 inches and a maximum dig depth of 11 feet 7 inches.

It runs on a 36.3-net-horsepower Yanmar engine with power and eco modes.

A variety of attachments are available for the ZX50U-5N for material handling and other tasks. It comes standard with a quick coupler and boom-mounted auxiliary hydraulic line. An auxiliary function lever comes with an analog switch, trigger switch and horn for using a hydraulic breaker or attachment with swing. The Hitachi Triple H hydraulic system enables multiple operations at the same time.

A backfill blade is also standard, and a hydraulic blade that can angle 25 degrees left or right is an option.

The cab features a wide entrance, additional foot room and ergonomic hydraulic pilot controls. Control patterns can be switched from backhoe to excavator style with a selector under the seat. The 3.5-inch LCD monitor provides machine information and has a variety of touchscreen functions including auto-shutdown and the engine modes. Climate control is included.

Hitachi says it also built the ZX50U-5N to the same durability standards as its larger excavators. The rubber tracks’ steel core resists cracking, and the undercarriage features large diameter drive sprockets and track idlers, the company says. The boom cylinder gets added protection, and the upper structure has more upward impact resistance than previous models.

For easier service access, Hitachi added a hinged door to the side-by-side oil cooler and radiator core. Service points are at ground level. The operator station tilts up 50 degrees for access to the swing motor, engine starter motor and alternator. Track tension can be adjusted with a grease gun and a wrench.

Engine oil intervals are 500 hours, and hydraulic oil service intervals are 2,000 hours. Greasing intervals are 500 hours.

ZX26U-5N

Hitachi ZX26U-5N Compact Excavator digging gravelHitachiThe smallest of the new excavators is the 2.75-ton ZX26U-5N. The compact excavator is just under 5 feet wide and has reduced tail swing for operating in confined spaces.

It also features 360-degree rotation and independent swing boom. It can be easily transported, using its tiedown holes on the side frame and blade.

Hitachi says it is designed for landscaping, renovation, trenching, backfilling, drilling and demolition applications where space is limited, and in sensitive ground conditions where low ground pressure is needed.

It features a max reach of 15 feet 2 inches and a max dig depth of 8.5 feet. It comes with a dozer blade for backfilling and grading.

It runs on a 20-net-horsepower Yanmar engine designed for high torque and low noise. Hydraulic pilot controls operate bucket, thumb and other attachments, as well as boom, swing, travel and blade.

Same as the ZX50U-5N mentioned above, it features easy switch from backhoe to excavator style controls, auxiliary function lever for high-flow attachments and a boom cylinder guard and hose protector.

For the operator’s station, buyers can choose a four-pillar canopy or enclosed cab. The suspension seat has adjustable armrests. The entrance floor is low to the ground to make it easier to enter and exit. The optional cab has been widened with a larger door, has more foot room and an enlarged windshield, Hitachi says.

Hitachi says it increased durability and maintenance access on the ZX26U-5N similar to its larger excavators.

Quick specs

ZX26U-5N

  • Net power: 20 hp
  • Operating weight: 5,560 lbs.
  • Max dig reach: 15 ft. 2 in.
  • Max dig depth: 8 ft. 6 in.

ZX50U-5N

  • Net power: 36.3 hp
  • Operating weight: 10,560 lbs.
  • Max dig reach: 19 ft. 7 in.
  • Max dig depth: 11 ft. 7 in.

ZX210LC-6

  • Net power: 163.6 hp
  • Operating weight: 50,265 lbs.
  • Max dig reach: 32 ft. 7 in.
  • Max dig depth: 21 ft. 11 in.

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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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