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Road testing a hybrid excavator

Writer Joshua Dowling?s road test looked at the technology and fuel-saving features of Komatsu?s 21-tonne HB215LC hybrid excavator, comparing them with those of Toyota?s Prius.

?Weighing a pinch over 21 tonnes, it?s a far cry from the Toyota Prius C, one of Australia?s cheapest hybrid cars,? he wrote in the 1 March edition of The Daily Telegraph. ?Its bright yellow arm (capable of carrying a 2450kg load) could lift two of the tiny-tot Toyotas in one deft swing – and still have room to dig some dirt.?

Earthmover manufacturer Komatsu has adopted a hybrid system to save money and fuel on worksites around the country, Dowling commented in his article. ?Following the downsizing trend with cars, this is a four-cylinder engine when most excavators of this size have six.

?The diesel also operates at lower revs than regular models (1300 to 1400 rpm versus 1800 to 2000 rpm) because the electric motor provides an extra boost. Most machines of this size consume 21 litres of fuel an hour in heavy use or 15 on average. The hybrid uses 11 to 15 litres.

?A large screen shows how much energy you?re using or saving, with the same type of digital readouts as in hybrid cars,? wrote Dowling who had little experience of excavators but loads of experience with hybrid vehicles.

The review, including side-by-side spec comparisons, has since appeared nationally on News Ltd?s Cars Guide website, as well as in the company?s major metropolitan and community newspapers around Australia.

After nervously getting into the Komatsu Hybrid?s cab to test its digging abilities, Dowling concluded: ?Eventually I got the swing of it and the machine?s minders had to bang on the soundproof door to get me out. And to think ? people get paid to have this much fun.?

Sources: Komatsu Australia, Daily Telegraph

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