Why It’s So Easy to Maintain Electric Heavy Equipment

You’ve likely heard that buying electric heavy equipment is better for your bottom line and return on investment. Some of the reasons are obvious, like no more diesel fuel. But the leading reason isn’t as apparent: Maintenance. There’s less of it with electric construction equipment—a lot less.

It all has to do with how equipment is designed, assembled and operated. Stanley Wang, director of product development at HEVI, details why electric heavy equipment is so easy to maintain and what little work is required.

Fewer Components, Fewer Concerns

Diesel loaders and excavators have large engines with multiple moving parts connected to systems like fuel injectors, exhaust systems, cooling units and air intakes.

“Diesel engines, oil filters and everything that’s associated with both take up a giant chunk of recurring maintenance,” Wang says. “Most of your maintenance costs go right there.”

Other under-the-radar components play significant factors, too.

“Some of the smaller stuff that most people overlook with diesel equipment are things like oil sampling, which is important for the health of diesel engines,” Wang says. “And it includes a lot of additional time and costs.”

None of this is a factor with electric heavy equipment, which is powered by lithium-ion batteries and has more electronic components with fewer moving parts, resulting in less wear and tear.

“Batteries are giant enclosed systems,” Wang says. “Take your phone, which has a battery. Most people have not taken their phones apart to maintain the battery. That’s because there really isn’t anything to maintain regarding the battery. The same applies here.”

Automatic Shut-Off, Less Idling

According to industry analyses, a typical 36-ton excavator operates for about 1,000 hours annually—40% of which is spent idling, burning about 400 gallons of fuel per year. That much idling not only wastes fuel, but it also depletes warranty hours and increases additional maintenance.

None of these are factors with all-electric heavy equipment.

Unlike traditional diesel loaders and excavators, which need to keep fuel and fluids circulating even when idle, all-electric construction equipment automatically shuts off when it’s not in use. No more racking up unnecessary hours or wasted costs.

“Think of it in terms of using a computer or laptop, which goes into sleep mode when you stop using the machine. But the second you unlock the computer and make it active, it’s instantly ready to go and starts pulling power again,” Wang says. “Electric heavy equipment works very similarly.”

No Diesel Means No DEF or Filters

Electric heavy equipment doesn't require diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) or filters associated with internal combustion engines, which further reduces maintenance. Upkeep is limited to grease and hydraulic oil.

In contrast, diesel construction equipment necessitates routine inspections of fluid, filters and various other components. The decreased frequency of maintenance saves time and lowers the overall cost of operation, especially in indoor work environments.

“In indoor applications, diesel machinery has all sorts of regulations where you need exhaust scrubbers and other ventilation installation, and that’s a major amount of cost,” Wang says. “In the case of electric heavy equipment, you don't have to worry about these extra costs and cleanup.”

This shift means that more of your money is invested in the project job, not the equipment's upkeep. This is a significant advantage for projects where efficiency and cost-effectiveness matter by the hour, especially indoors.

How Much Does This Lack of Maintenance Save?

The decrease in maintenance for electric construction equipment can lead to an estimated 60% reduction in maintenance costs over the equipment’s lifespan compared to diesel counterparts, according to industry reports. HEVI’s self-analysis equates that percentage to over $30,000 annually in diesel and maintenance costs per machine. In some instances, the savings can be even more significant.

The result is a product that’s easier to maintain, has a longer lifespan and potentially a higher resale value, thanks to increasing demand and regulations favoring electric heavy equipment for years to come.

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