Electricity North West drives down its carbon emissions by purchasing two electric JCBs

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When Electricity North West, the DNO responsible for the administration and maintenance of the power network in the North West of England, announced its Leading the North West to zero carbon plan in March earlier this year, the company committed to emitting zero carbon emissions by 2038. It’s now showcasing that commitment by purchasing two electric JCBs. 

The all-electric JCB mini diggers are the first in the region and emit zero exhaust emissions. They’ll be put to work digging trenches for underground cabling that powers the North West of England, and will eventually fully replace the diesel diggers the company has used up until this point. 

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.”

The new JCBs not emit zero carbon emissions, but they’re also five times quieter than their diesel counterparts. 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 44,000 kilometres 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% cheaper compared to using red diesel. Servicing costs are also expected to be up to 70% lower compared to the diesel model.

The machines will be charged at Electricity North West depots using electricity generated from renewable sources.

JCB chief innovation officer, Tim Burnhope, added: “We are delighted to go into full production with the industry’s first fully electric mini-excavator. The machine has a very promising future ahead of it.

“I’m delighted to see Electricity North West lead the way by purchasing two of the electric machines. It reaffirms Electricity North West’s commitment to being at the forefront of transitioning to a zero carbon future.”