Electricity North West has become the region’s first company to purchase two JCB electric mini diggers, following a successful trial period.
The 19C-1E fully electric models, with zero exhaust emissions, are the first to go into full production in the construction industry.
Electricity North West, the region’s power network operator, will use the diggers to install underground power cables and has made a commitment to phase out diesel mini diggers to reduce its carbon footprint as part of its Leading the North West to zero carbon plan, which it launched in March this year.
The plan sets out how Electricity North West is investing £63.5 million over the next four years, to drive down its own carbon emissions and help businesses and customers to do the same.
Steve Cox, engineering and technical director at Electricity North West, said: “In March we launched our Leading the North West to zero carbon plan, which demonstrates our commitment to be one of the businesses driving the region’s transition to a carbon neutral future.
“We’re looking closely at our own operations and how we can decarbonise them. Collectively, small changes can make big impacts and this shows what can be done now to reduce carbon without having a negative impact on customer service, performance or cost.”
A staggering five times quieter than its diesel counterpart, the new machines can be fully charged in two hours, making the diggers ideal for Electricity North West engineers, who work 24-hours a day to maintain the network.
Electricity North West, which manages more than 44,000km of underground electricity cables in the North West, trialled the electric mini diggers for a six month period prior to the purchase.
Having arrived earlier this month, the diggers are already being used across various sites in the North West.
“The diggers are excellent machines, our team find them more powerful than diesel diggers and another major positive is the reduced noise levels,” added Cox.
“Power cuts can happen at any time of the day and night and sometimes, we’re required to dig up roads and footpaths to repair faults. Using the new electricity diggers, which have reduced noise levels, means we can work into the night without impacting our customers.”
As well as lower emissions, the 19C-1E model is more cost effective with JCB research revealing over the first five years, charging costs will be 50 per cent cheaper compared to using red diesel.
Servicing costs are also expected to be up to 70 per cent lower compared to the diesel model.
The machines will be charged at Electricity North West depots using electricity generated from renewable sources.