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Honda and Komatsu Announce the Start of Joint Development of Micro Excavators Powered by Swappable Batteries

TOKYO, Jun 10, 2021 – (JCN Newswire via SEAPRWire.com) – Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and Komatsu Ltd. today announced they have signed a basic agreement and begun joint development to electrify Komatsu micro excavators(1) using the Honda Mobile Power Pack (MPP)(2) and to strive to establish a battery-sharing system for the civil engineering and construction industry which will enable mutual use of MPPs among various types of construction machinery and equipment.

Image of a broad-ranging battery-sharing system established thorough utilization of MPP

The two companies have been at the forefront of the industry in taking initiative to realize products with low environmental impact. Honda has been expanding the lineup of products powered by MPPs, and Komatsu introduced a battery-powered mini excavator to the Japanese market in April 2020.

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.

In addition to significantly reducing noise and exhaust heat, electrification of the micro excavator will reduce its environmental impact by realizing “zero exhaust gas emission,” which enables users to work comfortably in various indoor and outdoor work environments. Moreover, by taking advantage of the unique features of MPP as a swappable battery, the user can continue using the electrified equipment without waiting for a MPP to recharge. By powering Komatsu equipment with Honda MPPs, the two companies will strive to make energy supply easier and realize enhanced convenience for customers.

After the market introduction of the electrified micro excavator, the two companies will undertake demonstration testing of a structure to supply MPPs to civil engineering and construction sites and enhance the convenience of electrified construction machinery and equipment by offering after-sales services, including a battery swapping system.

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.

By adding a wide variety of electrified civil engineering and construction equipment to the smart power operation which already includes Honda’s electrified mobility and power products, Honda is striving to establish a broad network of MPP-based battery-sharing systems. By further pursuing zero emissions and utilization of renewable energy at the worksites of its customers, Honda will continue making contributions to the realization of a sustainable and “circular” society which strives for zero environmental impact.

(1) The micro excavator is a collective product name for the Komatsu PC01, PC05 and PC09 mini excavator models. The PC01 model is the world’s smallest riding excavator which can be loaded on to a minitruck (engine size of 600cc or below) and one of Komatsu’s longtime best seller products often used for various functions at worksites near people, trees, flowers and ornamental plants, including pipe-laying, landscaping and agricultural and livestock work.
(2) Honda Mobile Power Pack is a swappable battery developed by Honda. Honda has introduced multiple MPP-powered business-use two-wheeled and three-wheeled scooters as the Honda e: Business Bike Series.

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