Convert diesel to electric

Have you already made the switch from diesel-powered to electric machinery? Or are you still considering the best strategy? Authorities are striving for emission-free engines in the short term: this means zero emission of nitrogen, particulate matter and CO2. For some public tenders, emission-free machinery is already a requirement. In addition, some countries and cities have a statutory limit value for diesel emissions and nitrogen, or environmental zones where emissions are more strictly regulated. Apart from compliance with the new rules and contributing to climate objectives, the conversion from diesel to electric has more advantages for you and your employees. Read on to find out more.

Converting from diesel to electric: how does that work?

What does converting from diesel to electric exactly entail? And what are the possibilities at this moment? First off, developments are going fast. There already are solutions for all kinds of electrification questions – the possibilities are endless. When machines need to be made more sustainable, exchanging the diesel engine and tank for a battery is an obvious and very efficient solution. Modern batteries are compact and therefore easy to implement into your machine. As a result, the space in the machine can be used in an optimal way. A modern battery is 60 percent smaller than its predecessors, but has a much higher energy density. This means electric machines can be used for up to a full working day. And because less space is required, it is possible, for example, to equip a 23-tonne excavator with a lithium battery that can supply all the energy it needs. Charging is not a problem anymore, because specifically developed batteries can be charged up to 30,000 times. A big difference with standard batteries that last between 1,000 and 3,000 charging cycles and have a lot smaller capacity.

Why convert from diesel to electric?

As the battery fanatics that we are, we are not completely neutral when it comes to electrification. But even then, we are convinced that converting from diesel to electric has advantages for everyone. We have listed the 11 biggest benefits below.

1. Hardly any emissions of nitrogen, particulate matter or CO2

Electric engines are emission-free. And when you charge with green electricity, the net emissions are only a fraction of those of combustion engines. This allows you to work in areas where restrictions apply to CO2 emissions, such as close to hospitals or in residential areas.

2. More sustainable than diesel

An electric engine powered by a battery performs much better than a diesel motor over its entire life cycle; the Environmental Cost Indicator is 50-70% lower. The use of green electricity reinforces this effect by another 15-20% compared to gray electricity.

3. No fuel required: cost and time savings

Electricity is cheaper than fuel. With the rising fuel prices, this is a big advantage. A battery does not consume any energy when the machine is running stationary. This is of course a different story with a diesel engine. In addition, the operators of the machines do not have to spend time buying fuel and refilling the tank. And you don’t have to worry about oil leakage or checking the oil level.

4. No more noise

Fossil-fueled equipment makes considerable noise and causes vibrations. With electric machinery, this is a thing of the past. And when noise standards apply to your workplace, you can still continue working.

5. Possibility to work indoors

Diesel engines aren’t allowed indoors, which means you have to work by hand. With much cleaner and quieter machines, working indoors is possible and allowed. This makes the work for you and your staff easier and more efficient.

6. Working outside of office hours

To limit nuisance, work in the vicinity of residential areas is only allowed during the day. With quiet electric machinery, you can extend the time windows for work. Projects can therefore be carried out more quickly, with less hinder for people in the area. .

7. Less parts mean less maintenance

Elektrische machines bevatten een stuk minder onderdelen dan machines met een dieselmotor, denk aan oliefilter en brandstoffilters. Ze hebben geen hydraulisch systeem dat warm wordt, omdat een elektrische motor niet stationair draait. Bij een elektrische machine is dan ook minder sprake van slijtage. De onderhoudskosten van elektromotoren zijn dan ook laag: elektrische motoren hebben 30 tot 50 procent lagere operationele kosten. Je hoeft daarnaast geen geld uit te geven aan speciale gereedschappen die nodig zijn voor moderne dieselmotoren.
Electric machines use less parts than machines with a diesel engine. Electric machinery doesn’t have a hydraulic system that gets hot, because an electric motor doesn’t run stationary, and doesn’t need oil and fuel filters. Less parts means less wear and tear and lower maintenance costs. The operating costs of electric motors are 30 up to 50 percent lower. And while modern diesel engines require specific tools, electric motors don’t. This also saves you money.

8. Simple and quick inspections

Because less inspection is needed and fewer wear parts need to be replaced, the inspections that are necessary require much less time.

9. Higher margins and a competitive edge.

Ja, het ombouwen van diesel naar elektrisch (of de aanschaf van een elektrische machine) is kostbaar. Maar wil jij degene zijn die een aanbesteding verliest omdat de concurrent beschikt over elektrische voer- en werktuigen? Om je positie te behouden én een voorsprong te nemen op de concurrentie, moet je blijven innoveren. De terugverdientijd van een elektrisch aangedreven machine is kort, gemiddeld zo’n zeven jaar.

Yes, converting from diesel to electric (or purchasing an electric machine) is costly. But do you want to be the one who loses a tender because a competitor has electric vehicles and equipment and you don’t? To maintain your position and to stay ahead of the competition, you have to keep innovating. The payback period of an electrically powered machine is short – on aveage seven years.

10. Possibility to profit from subsidies

Many governments and local auithorities in and outside of Europe grant subsidies for cleaner building equipment. Have a look at the website of your country or municipality to see what they offer. Apart from subsidies, you can often profit from tax advantages, such as exemption from VAT, or a deduction for investing in a cleaner environment. With diesel equipment, you don’t have these advantages, and can be taxed even more if your diesel engines are over a certain age.

11. Fits within a socially responsible company policy

Everyone can help to make our planet better. In addition to feeling good about your environmental-friendly decisions yourself, the conversion from diesel to electric allows you to profile your company as an innovative, green organization that takes the health of both employees and customers into account. Electric vehicles and equipment contribute to a decrease in global emissions in order to achieve the climate objectives from the Paris Agreement or specifically the Clean Air Agreement (CAA).

Costs of converting from diesel to electric

Converting from diesel to electric is costly, but the payback period is short. On average, about seven years. And with the rising fuel prices, it may well be a lot shorter.

When thinking about the costs, you should also consider your competitive edge and your improved position in tenders. You will see that you will win more contracts. Some parties give builders a discount in tenders if they work with emission-free equipment. In other words, you do not invest in electrification because of the lower purchase costs, but you invest to win more contracts and to work with fewer emissions. You invest in the future – of your company, your employees and the environment!

And remember: every machine that runs on diesel today will no longer exist in 7 years time. By then, everything will work on batteries, both the small and large machines. The sooner you start converting from diesel to electric, the further you will be ahead of your competition.

Possibilities of converting from diesel to electric

Nowadays, batteries can be completely customized to meet your requirements. The number of options is endless. There is a perfect solution for every application. Even if a machine has to be able to operate in extreme conditions. Think of environments with (extremely) high or low temperatures, environments with a lot of dust, or applications that can cause (extreme) vibrations. The size and heaviness of a machine no longer has to be a problem. There are also solutions when there is limited space available.

Technical benefits of customized batteries from Intercel:

  • LiFePO4, LTO and NMC solutions
  • Charge and discharge to 10%, discharge to 95% DoD
  • Extremely long lifecycle of up to 30,000 cycles
  • Charging below freezing temperatures possible
  • Special dimensions, high energy density
  • Communication options: RS232, CAN bus, MOD bus, WiFi, Bluetooth etc.
  • Made in Holland, engineering and assembly in Haarlem
  • Systems from 3.2 to 1000V – from 500Wh to 1MWh

All machines and pieces of equipment are suitable for electrification: from excavators to shovels; from light electric vehicles to heavy construction machines; from (asphalt) rollers to asphalt warming containers; from tool carriers (sweeping, spraying, lawnmower machine) to cleaning machines.

The developments are going fast, especially in terms of charging times. Both 1-phase (fast charging) and 3-phase charging is possible (from 230 Volt to 400 Volt). And thanks to newly developed Battery Management Systems technology, all parts of the engine work together in an integrated manner.

How can Intercel help you convert from diesel to electric?

Intercel Intercel has the ability to design a solution for any application that requires a custom battery. With an in-house engineering department and more than 30 years of experience in the battery industry, no challenge is too great. We build an all-in-one solution. Compared to our competitors, we offer the following advantages: 

  • Optimal use of the available space 
  • No imbalance between modules 
  • Charge faster, discharge deeper 
  • Much shorter installation time, the battery is delivered ready to use 
  • Quality guarantee, production according to ISO 9001
  • Direct contact with the producer 
  • High-quality electronics sourced from the EU and US

The biggest difference lies in the way we design and assemble a battery. We design and build with cells instead of modules. This gives us more flexibility in terms of space and allows us to accommodate much more capacity in the space that is available. Next to that, we build robust, vibration-resistant batteries that can also withstand other harsh conditions, such as extreme temperatures and dust. 

Due to our innovative way of working, we can deliver specialised solutions like custom batteries for foundation rigs (something most competitors don’t dare or even can), for forklifts for freezers (temperatures below 0), and for manure scrapers. For other applications, visit our Custom Battery page.

The conversion from diesel to electric is a complex process. So being critical about choosing the right partner is key. 

Before you start, ask yourself what kind of battery you need and what else you require – besides the battery – to do your job properly in terms of integration with the engine and machine, the working conditions and charging options.

In most cases, you already know what you need. Now it is time to make your wishes concrete. How big is the available space for example? And what capacity do you need? Are you going for cost savings or labor time savings? A good supplier acts like a partner throughout the entire process, up to and including implementation. 

At Intercel we design and build batteries ourselves, in close cooperation with the customer. We have already converted such a wide range of vehicles and machines from diesel to electric that we know each device well. This means we have a lot of experience in coming up with completely new, flexible solutions.

After the design phase follows the development of a prototype. This includes a test report for each battery. This is followed by fine-tuning whereafter the battery can be taken into production. 

Intercel invests in our personnel, workshop and stock. As a result, customers are always served on time, no matter how high the demand is. We have an extremely high stock position and import our own cells under our own brand, produced especially for us. Lastly, we are not dependent on suppliers. This way we can guarantee continuity and consistent quality. 

After building and delivering your custom battery, Intercel’s service and expertise does not stop. Each custom-made battery that we supply comes with an individual test and quality report. Then it will be sealed for warranty. To ensure that you can rely on the battery pack for a long time, our specialists offer extensive after-sales and support. After all, with a professional custom battery you can expect professional service.

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