Volvo CE India's Dimitrov Krishnan says electrification will be a function of market adoption | The Financial Express

Volvo CE India’s Dimitrov Krishnan says electrification will be a function of market adoption

The MD of Volvo CE India & president Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers Association (ICEMA) says the construction equipment industry will need support from the government in line with FAME in the early stages of market development.

Volvo CE India’s Dimitrov Krishnan says electrification will be a function of market adoption
Dimitrov Krishnan: "Ultimately, businesses have to save money and businesses have to survive in the changing uncertain world and they will look at technology to help them solve it."

The MD of Volvo CE India & president Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers Association (ICEMA) says the construction equipment industry will need support from the government in line with FAME in the early stages of market development.

Is electrification a possibility for the construction equipment industry, given the global trend towards green mobility?

The current products that we are launching focus on reducing fuel consumption, which in turn helps decrease the carbon footprint of our products dramatically.

In one of the recent products that we launched; we have seen roughly 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption per tonne of extraction. That’s possible because we are partly electrifying the product by using electronics to control the machine, and hence that improves the efficiencies and ability to control the amount of power consumed in the product.

Coming to electrification, we will be bringing in electric products for sure. The timing of is still being decided and we will announce it when we are ready. But I can share a few details about the strategy behind it. Electrification will primarily serve the smaller equipment like small excavators, mini excavators, and also up to medium size, where you can charge the machine and can probably use it for 6-7 hours of usage in a shift.

That will probably serve the smaller utility requirements. For the mid- to large-sized machines, it will largely be hydrogen fuel-cell-based products. We are developing hydrogen fuel-cell technology in our R&D centers, working and testing them on our products. Then there will also be a third type, which is basically grid-connected machines.

These are machines which do not have a diesel engine, but they have a cable that connects them to the electric grid similar. The limitations of a cable-connected machine are there, but it’s not impossible to manage. In order to drive carbon neutrality, we expect large equipment to actually move towards that, and I think solutions and technology are already available.

What will be the driving force for electrification in the construction equipment industry?

Ultimately electrification has to do with market adoption. The initiatives will be driven by both OEMs and also the government. For instance the FAME scheme and state EV policies have been brought in for driving EV sales.

I think for the construction equipment industry also we will need to work towards having those support from the government to actually move in that direction to get that journey started. This kind of support is required in the early stages of market development and market adoption and we will be working with the government also, to help us in that direction.

What about consumer demand and potential of alternate fuels like CNG, hydrogen, LNG?

At the EXCON 2022, we announced that the B10 and B20 bio-diesel blends can be used in our products and have done a lot of communication around it. We are also connecting bio-diesel suppliers to our end-customers, so that they can adopt these fuels. Our products are ready for bio-diesel usage, which is something that we are working on.

I think they are all these different market forces, which are going to drive the adoption of newer alternative technologies. It’s not only going to save the world, climate change, and reduction, which of course is a larger purpose, but the commercial drive will probably be a more urgent driver of a switch. Ultimately, businesses have to save money and businesses have to survive in the changing uncertain world and they will look at technology to help them solve it.

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Can CNG play a role over here or CNG is not a viable option?

The challenge for CNG in our products is the ability to store the amount of fuel, we can store on the product because construction equipment are constructed in such a way, they have very high mobility within the machine. You have to move it, you have to rotate it. It has a lot of moving parts within the product, unlike an automotive where you have fixed parts. The challenge for CNG is very-very high. It may not be and has not yet been adopted anywhere in the world in the segment, but bio-diesel is a very good option or be it synthetic fuels in the future. There is a lot of development going on in that space. I think the liquid fuels will still have a role to play you know.

What about LNG’s potential in the construction equipment industry?

LNG also has different storage needs, there isn’t any special development, but it could be an option because it does help. It is easier to store, I mean in terms of the space required, and it can help carry more fuel compared to the space CNG takes. LNG could potentially for large dump trucks and there are already trials going on with it In India.

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