Honda and Komatsu have started collaborating to make the world’s cutest construction equipment with the electric PC 01E, an electrified micro excavator. The best part is this tiny Komatsu will run on the same swappable batteries that Honda plans to power its electric motorcycles, the Mobile Power Pack (MPP.)
Honda says that Komatsu’s PC01 is already the world’s smallest riding excavator, but they forgot to say it’s the most charming, with its own little plow mounted forward on its treads. The micro shovel has been around for years without the use of electrification, and you can see it in action below:
The PC01E adds the MPP and a Honda electric motor to the rear end of the PC01 to make the excavator that much friendlier and efficient on-site, as Honda describes:
Through this joint development, the two companies will electrify the Komatsu PC01 micro excavator by equipping it with Honda MPPs and an electrified power unit (eGX). Among various construction machines Komatsu offers, the PC01 is most likely to be used for various functions at worksites near people, trees, flowers and ornamental plants, including pipe-laying, landscaping and agricultural and livestock work. The two companies will strive to introduce the electrified Komatsu PC01 before the end of the current fiscal year, ending March 31, 2022.
Honda and Komatsu imagine a world where you can ride your EV scooter or motorcycle home, and do some yard work on your electric excavator sharing batteries, or MPPs. This is straight out of a Ghibli film.
Of course, the main use for these machines will be commercial projects and on construction sites rather than for private individuals, but we can dream.
The companies say they’re planning to use Honda’s electric power source and batteries on larger excavators later this year, after the release of the PC01E in its home market of Japan, per Honda:
Further down the road, the two companies will conduct joint development to electrify other micro excavator models as well as mini excavator models in the class with operating weight of up to 1 ton. Moreover, the two companies will jointly explore possibilities for MPP-based electrification of a wide range of equipment used at civil engineering and construction worksites and introducing such electrified products to markets outside Japan.
The MPP that Honda developed has proven to be a versatile power source, and its development could yield even cooler machines now that company has signed onto a consortium with rival motorcycle makers. This micro excavator is just another of the great ideas to come from the electrification of Honda’s two-wheelers.