Collins Earthworks invests in sustainable future with electric Volvo technology

To support its CO2 reduction goals, the Midlands-based earthmoving specialist runs several pieces of hybrid and fully electric machines from SMT GB, including the UK’s first Volvo L25 Electric wheeled loader.

Collins Earthworks boasts one of the UK’s largest earthmoving and stabilisation equipment fleets and is keen to remain at the forefront of the industry in all aspects, including when it comes to carbon neutral construction.

Collins regularly runs environmental audits, senior management have NEBOSH Environmental qualifications, and the company is now registered with the Carbon Footprint Standard and accredited with ISO 14001 for Environmental Management – an achievement Collins is particularly proud of.

To get to this point, the earthmoving specialist has invested in solar panels to power its cabins and welfare facilities, as well as electric pool cars for employees, with charging points fed by clean electricity at the head office. 

Collins has also established a sister company, EnviroTrac, specialising in lime and cement stabilisation to mitigate on-site waste by transferring wet, unsuitable material into strong binding layers. 

As for its machinery fleet, Collins is introducing new hybrid and fully electric models from SMT GB to help curb its emissions even further. As well as the UK’s first two Volvo EC300E Hybrid excavators, SMT GB has also supplied Collins with the country’s first Volvo L25 Electric compact wheeled loader.

Quiet, comfortable, and emission-free

This 5 t compact wheeled loader with 0.9 m3 bucket capacity is powered by lithium-ion batteries that cover an eight-hour working shift of general site clear-up duties with one single charge.

The Volvo L25 Electric has two electric motors, one for the drivetrain and one for hydraulics. Decoupling the subsystems makes the machine more efficient.

Collins’ operators’ impressions of the Volvo L25 Electric are that it functions much like a conventional diesel-powered machine but with the benefits of electrification.

“It’s quiet and comfortable and highly responsive. You just start it up and off it goes!” said Nathan Warner, site supervisor at Collins Earthworks.

Maintenance made easy

Another main benefit for the company is its ease of maintenance. 

“The machine is easy to maintain as it has no engine – there is no need to check the engine oil and coolant every day or refill fuel. We simply charge it overnight by plugging one end of the charger into the machine and the other into a normal household socket,” Warner said.

Longer term, Collins plans to invest in further hybrid and fully electric machines from SMT GB. 

“Investing in sustainable innovations and solutions plays an integral part within our company ethos and profile at Collins, as we seek to pave the way for other contractors towards carbon-neutral construction,” Warner said. 

“In a few years’ time, we want every machine to be hybrid or fully electric. It will have a massive impact, not only for the benefit of the environment but also those who live and work around our projects.”