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Case Unveils “Project Zeus”

By: P&E Staff
Post Date: March 23, 2020

CASE Construction Equipment introduces “Project Zeus” - the 580 EV (Electric Vehicle), the construction industry’s first fully electric backhoe loader. The power and performance of the 580 EV is equivalent to other diesel-powered backhoes in the CASE product line and provides considerably lower daily operating costs while also producing zero emissions - a motivating factor for utility and government contractors incentivized to work with equipment that leverages alternative fuels and lowers emissions.

Two units have already been sold to utilities in the United States. CASE has the capability to produce additional units throughout 2020 before ramping up production to meet greater demand in following years.

“CASE built the very first factory-integrated backhoe loader in 1957 and has been at the forefront of backhoe innovation,” says Leandro Lecheta, head of construction equipment - North America, CNH Industrial. “The 580 EV is a significant step forward in our commitment to sustainability, the evolution of earthmoving equipment and truly practical innovation that drives real savings and competitive advantages for backhoe owners.”

“The backhoe loader is perfectly suited for electrification as the varied use cycles, from heavy to light work, provide an excellent opportunity to convert wasted diesel engine hours into zero consumption battery time - yet provide the operator with instantaneous torque response when needed,” says Eric Zieser, director - global compact equipment product line, CASE. 

The 580 EV is the second major alternative-powered machine introduced by CASE - the manufacturer rolled out the FPT Industrial methane-powered concept wheel loader ProjectTETRA at bauma 2019. Electrification was performed in conjunction with Green Machine, Inc. and Moog, Inc., and with direct input from utilities and other businesses focused on converting significant portions of their fleets to fully electric backhoes. CASE also partnered with Michelin to outfit the first-of-its-kind machine with specialized MICHELIN CrossGrip tires for even greater efficiency and handling.

The 580 EV is powered by a 480-volt, 90-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that can be charged by any 220-volt/three-phase connection. While applications will vary, each charge will support most common eight-hour workdays. The battery separately powers the drivetrain and hydraulic motors, resulting in hydraulic breakout forces equal to diesel-powered machines and improved performance during simultaneous loader and drivetrain operation.

While the new 580 EV is electrified, it retains many of the hallmark features that contractors expect from CASE backhoe loaders. It retains the precision and efficiency of diesel-powered CASE backhoes with features such as ProControl, which allows for extremely precise boom movement and placement, as well as Comfort Steer, which significantly improves steering while working in tight quarters or in truck loading operations. The machine’s cab is spacious with large windows that provide excellent sightlines to all sides of the machine. It also features the new and enhanced joystick controls found in the most recent generation of CASE N Series backhoes, as well as in-cab amenities such as premium seat options and Bluetooth radio.

“The 580 EV performs like a CASE backhoe - matching the power and performance expected from CASE with the advantages of an electrified machine,” says Zieser. “Operators will experience the same digging, lifting and craning performance achieved in a diesel-powered machine in a quieter, emissions-free work area. That’s the ultimate goal of our sustainability efforts - improve the world around us, make equipment more sustainable, and to do so while finding new ways to improve productivity and the experience of the people who use the equipment.”

CASE has partnered with Michelin on tires for two of its alternative-powered equipment solutions. The 580 EV backhoe loader showcased at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 includes MICHELIN CrossGrip tires that feature a non-directional tread design and provide exceptional handling, comfort and high-load capacity for operation on a variety of surface conditions from asphalt to snow.

The new MICHELIN CrossGrip is a multi-purpose radial tire designed for use on the road, grass and snow. Using a special rubber compound, this four-season tire is designed for high-load-capacity use on loaders, backhoes, telehandlers and tractors. The tire has a patented, non-directional tread for excellent handling in both forward and reverse gears. With 196 tread blocks per wheel rotation, the tire achieves driver comfort by reducing vibration. 

"We designed the CrossGrip tire for year-round use - and backhoe loaders responding to utility or municipal demands require that level of availability and performance," says Justin Brock, senior marketing manager, Michelin North America. "Its unique design provides excellent reliability and traction, helping the industry's first fully electric backhoe loader road and operate even more effectively in all conditions.”

By: P&E Staff
Post Date: March 23, 2020

Keywords: Project Zeus Electric Vehicle

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