John Deere and Wacker Neuson join forces to develop electric excavators

The well-known American manufacturer of agricultural machinery John Deere and the German manufacturer of construction machinery Wacker Neuson have signed a strategic cooperation agreement to develop battery electric vehicles that will be incorporated into the product portfolios of both companies.

The agreement contemplates an exclusive supply contract for the coming years of mini excavators and compact excavators (less than five tons), as well as battery electric excavators. For none of those involved, it is the first foray into this segment: John Deere presented an electric excavator last year and Wacker Neuson did the same even earlier, in 2020.

Wacker Neuson will design and manufacture the machines at its facilities in Menomonee Falls (USA) and in Linz (Austria) according to the needs and requirements of John Deere, mainly for the North American (United States and Canada) markets. The excavators will be marketed under the John Deere brand through the US company’s global dealer network.

For its part, Wacker Neuson will continue to independently develop, produce and distribute its own 5- to 9-tonne excavators, a range of products that will continue to be distributed under the Wacker Neuson brand through its distribution network.

The companies plan a gradual introduction of the models and to gradually complete the product portfolio, with different machines and of different sizes. The Wacker Neuson Group will invest a double-digit million euro sum to expand its production capacity. The directive of Wacker Neuson is confident that this agreement will “substantially” accelerate the group’s profitable growth in the medium term, although it does not expect a significant contribution to its sales and profits in the next three or four years.

Early last year John Deere presented the prototype of an electric excavator, called John Deere E-Power (the machine that appears on the cover of this article). According to the manufacturer, the goal was to achieve or exceed the performance of the John Deere 310L diesel, a 6.65-ton machine with a 4.5-liter diesel engine and 102 hp. In addition to providing four-wheel drive, the electric drive needs to be able to power all the auxiliary equipment and hydraulic systems that move the front loader and rear backhoe bucket.

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