5 things we learned about electric construction equipment demand + Video

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The Volvo CE L120H Electric wheel loader (Image: Volvo CE) The Volvo CE L120H Electric wheel loader during a test of its capabilities in the United Arab Emirates. (Image: Volvo CE)

This month has seen the publication of a brand-new report from Off-Highway Research that examines the state of the nascent global electric construction equipment industry.

The 52-page report reveals how many electric variants of machines that up until now have generally only been diesel-powered have sold around the world.

It focuses on six main machine types: compact tracked loaders, crawler excavators, mini excavators, telescopic handlers, wheeled excavators, and wheel loaders.

It also looks at how demand for the machines varies by geographical region, how many different machine types are being sold and where, and forecasts how the market could grow in the future.

Accompanying the report, you can also check out International Construction editor Andy Brown’s video interview with Off-Highway Research’s managing director Chris Sleight. Together, they take a deeper look at electric machine sales and what lies behind the topline numbers.

Here are five things we’ve learned from Off-Highway Research’s report, The Global Electric Construction Equipment Industry:

  1. Total machine sales: A total of 7,283 electric construction machines (in the six classes mentioned above) were sold around the world in 2023, with a total value of US$894 million. While the volume of electric machine sales is still low, it’s nearly double the level of the previous year, when it was 3,822.

  2. Market penetration: Despite the increasing number of sales, the market penetration of electric machines is still small. Off-Highway Research calculated it to be 0.8%. The figure represents electric machine sales as a percentage of all machines sold in markets where electric variants are available. Their market representation falls to just 0.6% of all machines sold when including categories of machine where electric variants are not available.

  3. Top-selling machine type: Electric wheel loaders account for the bulk of sales by machine type – and that is mostly down to demand in China. In fact, of the roughly 7,300 electric machines sold in 2023, around 5,500 were wheel loaders of all sizes. Generally, the machines are being used in mining, quarrying and other industrial applications, as Chinese OEMs focus on producing electric machines in the mid- to large-size range.

  4. The biggest market after China: Europe is the second biggest market for electric construction equipment after China. It accounted for 27% of global demand, by number of units sold. Some 90% of the roughly 2,000 electric machines sold in Europe were compact (with an operating weight lower than 10t). But the market penetration rates for electric machines varied considerably across the region, from 8% in the Netherlands down to 0% in Ireland. China accounted for the bulk of electric machine sales by unit, with a 67% share. But in terms of dollar value of sales, the split was more even. Europe was the second most valuable market for electric machines, with a 39% share in terms of value of machines sold in US$. China had a 52% share in 2023. In North America, it was just 6%.

  5. Forecast: Global electric construction equipment sales will rise to 33,130 machines in 2028, with a value in excess of US$4 billion, according to Off-Highway Research’s forecasts. That would represent a penetration rate of 3.1% among categories where electric variants are available or 2.6% across the market as a whole. However, Off-Highway Research warned that forecasting in this area is “challenging” due to lack of past data to rely on. It put its forecast in the low- to mid-range of likely future sales, with certain drivers like net-zero legislation aimed at encouraging greater adoption of electric machines likely to have a major effect on the level of sales in the future.
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Andy Brown Editor, Editorial, UK - Wadhurst Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786224 E-mail: [email protected]
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