The latest addition to Sunbelt Rentals’ ever-expanding lineup of zero-emission construction equipment is here, and it’s an all-electric skid steer set to be deployed on the Gateway project at UC Berkeley, California.

UC Berkeley’s Gateway will be the future home of the school’s computer and data science departments. Students there will explore technological solutions for an equitable and decarbonized future – making zero-emission equipment like the electric Bobcat T7X skid steer is a natural fit for this project.

And, more than that, it was one of the reasons Turner Construction won the job. “It’s all about supply and demand. The electric construction equipment market depends not just on the development of the technology itself, but on a contractors’ willingness to pilot, rent, and streamline that equipment too,” explains Emi LaFountain, Regional Sustainability Manager for Turner Construction. “It’s thrilling to be at the crux of both positions and be a part of that push for a lower-carbon job site.”

The Bobcat T7X features a 76.2 kWh powering a 107 hp electric drive motor and several other servos and axial motors that, together, are good for 7500 lbs. of breakout lift force … but the question of whether or not that’s enough to get the job done is still something that a number of fleet managers need to see to believe – which is why the ability to rent electric equipment like this from a company like Sunbelt is such a critical step towards mainstream adoption.

“We are grateful to be able to provide our customers with new technology that will aide in achieving their sustainability goals along with doing our part to provide environmentally friendly solutions in the construction equipment realm,” says Sunbelt Product Line Manager, Jenny Pratt. “Our customers will be able to operate outside of normal working hours and in applications where its’ diesel counterpart would not be suitable. This allows for increased productivity and quicker job completion.”

The deployment of the electric skid steer marks a second such “first” for Turner in California. The other being was the company’s pilot of the Volvo EC230 Electric 30 ton excavator initially piloted by Skanska earlier this year.

Electrek’s Take

I said it earlier in the article, but it’s worth repeating: the ability to rent electric equipment like this from a company like Sunbelt is such a critical step towards mainstream adoption.

In the same way that a rental car is so many people’s first experience with an electric car, a short-term rental may be that first experience an operator has with a battery-electric skid steer, wheel loader, or telehandler. As such, Sunbelt should be commended for adding BEVs to its fleet. Here’s hoping other companies step up as well.

SOURCES | IMAGES: Bobcat; Turner Construction.

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