Sectors - Commercial

World First Electric Digger up for Award

The world’s first electric volume-produced electric digger has been named as one of three companies shortlisted for the 2020 MacRobert Award.

Founded in 1969, the MacRobert Award is overseen by the Royal Academy of Engineering, and is the United Kingdom’s longest-running engineering prize. It endorses the engineering achievements of those that demonstrate outstanding innovation, tangible societal benefit and proven commercial success.

The 19C-1E digger was developed by Staffordshire-based JCB. It produces no exhaust emissions and is much quieter than existing construction machines. It is the only volume-manufactured battery-powered machine of its kind on the market, with hundreds of models sold around the world. Those already sold and are in use, are responsible for saving the equivalent of 15,100kg on C02 emissions across 5,616 hours of work.

The MacRobert Award judges were impressed with the way in which JCB brought a range of engineering disciplines together when developing the machine. They also identified the optimised battery life and ability to operate indoors as important innovations.

The JCB 19C-1E is a finalist for the award alongside the all-electric I-PACE sports utility vehicle from Jaguar Land Rover and ecoSMRT® liquid natural gas reliquification technology from Babcock’s LGE business.

All three finalists demonstrate the ingenuity of engineers in developing significant innovations, which support the Academy’s drive to build a sustainable society, enabling faster decarbonisation and more sustainable use of resources.

Tim Burnhope FREng, Chief Innovation & Growth Officer at JCB, said:

“To be nominated for the UK’s most prestigious engineering award is a tremendous honour for the JCB electric team, who have excelled and risen to the challenge of introducing a brand-new technology to our business.”

MacRobert Award winners are chosen by an expert panel of Royal Academy Fellows, who have vast experience across engineering industry and academia. The JCB finalist team includes:

  • Tim Burnhope, Chief Innovation Officer
  • Bob Womersley, Director of Advanced Engineering
  • Lee Harper, Chief Engineer – Electrified Machines
  • Lee Milward, Design Manager
  • Corey Smith, Test and Development Manager

MacRobert Award judge Naomi Climer CBE FREng said:

“The team at JCB has put sustainable engineering on the construction map with the 19C-1E. Their electric digger is hugely impressive and it’s an extremely important engineering innovation. JCB has demonstrated to the construction sector that it is possible to develop powerful machinery that is also emission free at the point of use. We expect their example will spur further innovation in the industry.”

The winner of the award will be announced in July, with the winning team set to receive the signature MacRobert Award gold medal and a £50,000 cash prize.

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