Bobcat’s all-electric skid-steer and autonomous loaders
By Becky Schultz22 March 2023
Global compact equipment provider Bobcat Company publicly unveiled an all-electric skid-steer loader alongside a new concept autonomous track loader during ConExpo-Con/Agg 2023 in Las Vegas. According to the company, the fully electric S7X is a world first design concept.
Like the T7X compact track loader the company announced in early 2022, the S7X is an all-electric machine powered by a 60.5-kWh lithium-ion battery. It is equipped with electric drive motors and utilizes ball screw actuators for lift and tilt functions, eliminating the need for hydraulics.
Also as with the T7X, Bobcat has partnered in the S7X development with Moog, Inc., a global developer of motion control components and systems. Moog’s intelligent machine electrification system consists of an integrated software framework, electric machine controller, lift and tilt electric cylinders, electric traction motors and power electronics. In addition, Bobcat has expanded its partnership with Viridi, creator of Green Machine products, for lithium-ion, fail-safe battery systems.
The battery and electrical powertrain of the S7X will combine to deliver enhanced performance characteristics with instantaneous torque that Bobcat said is three times greater than traditional loaders. The unit can operate for up to eight hours on a single charge, depending on the application, with a full charge taking approximately 10 hours.
The S7X was shown as a prototype with plans to eventually move to commercialization.
Bobcat goes RogueX
The RogueX, a next-generation concept machine, was developed as an R&D project, to provide a proving ground to advance the company’s innovation roadmap, evaluate customer perceptions and test the limits of machine functionality, Bobcat said. It will be used to explore the capabilities of electric power, autonomous operation and dual lift-arm geometry.
The key in development of the design was the Bobcat Global Design Studio, which supported the project through “design thinking,” a human-centered approach. The process focuses on customer needs and designing solutions to address those needs. Together with the innovation team, the Global Design Studio team iterated designs back and forth, tweaking for efficiency and performance opportunities.
“We solicited internal ideas, developed multiple drawings, scale models and prototypes before finalizing the machine as it sits today,” said Joel Honeyman, Doosan Bobcat vice president of global innovation.
“RogueX was concepted with consideration for the worksite of the future and how a customer’s needs may evolve,” he continued, “with a focus on ease of use, remote operations, autonomous functionality, sustainable operations and features that allow operators to accomplish more with one machine.”
By removing the cab, Bobcat was able to open a world of possibilities in the machine’s functionality, the company said. The cab-less unit features advanced kinematics and next-generation functionality such as both vertical- and radial-path lift capabilities in a single machine – a feature not possible with a cab, which limits movements of the lift arm to one or the other configuration.
The all-electric, autonomous concept is powered by a lithium-ion battery and electric drive system with no hydraulics.
“After our successful development of building an all-electric loader [the Bobcat T7X], we wanted to think bigger, broader and take a leap far into the future,” said Matt Sagaser, director of innovation accelerated at Bobcat. “Our dedicated innovation team took a bold approach and designed a machine that breaks all of the rules. RogueX sets a framework for what is possible, and our team is just getting started on what is next.”
The RogueX is in the early R&D stages with no details on future commercialization available at this time. “This machine was created as a development platform, and as our teams continue to ideate, it will evolve. We are excited to continue envisioning the future of the worksite, and look forward to sharing more soon,” said Jim Breuer, director of global product identity for Bobcat Company.