JCB is keen to be seen promoting alternative fuelling methods over its entire range with both battery power and hydrogen combustion being promoted.

While hydrogen combustion has been given centre stage, battery-powered models are being introduced around the edges.

The latest model is the 403E compact electric loader which is claimed to match the performance of its 403 diesel-powered stablemate.

The company has chosen to install a lithium ion battery, rather than a lead acid item as used in its 30-19E Teletruk.

The 20kW/h li-i battery being used in the loader is claimed to last a normal eight-hour day or four to five hours continuous use on a mixed cycle.

It is primarily designed for indoor work and to be portable. It has a transport weight of 2,671kg while still offering a tipping load of 972kg with pallet forks, and a pin height in standard form of 2.9m, or 3.1m if the optional high lift arms are chosen.

JCB battery power charge
Charging time for the new loader will vary according to method

There are three charging rates, a 110V socket will fully charge the batteries in 12 hours, while a 230V industrial or domestic plug will charge the battery pack in eight hours.

JCB’s own off-board rapid charger delivers a full charge from a three-phase supply in just two hours. This compares to a two-minute battery pack swap for the lead acid powered Teletruk, and about the same for a diesel top up.

Branston Potatoes

Another company exploring battery power is Branston Potatoes of Lincolnshire which has placed a Volvo electrically-driven truck within its fleet for a short period to see what the potential may be for reducing carbon emissions.

It is claimed that in its present form the tractor unit has a 300km range, although it is not specified under what conditions that is, nor the weight of its load.

Branston Potatoes battery truck
The Volvo is said to have a range of up to 300km

The vehicle is produced by Volvo which is said to be a leader in the field of truck electrification, indeed, it is also involved in trialling a fuel-celled model with a more useful range of 1,000km.

Meanwhile, its arch rival in Sweden, Scania, has been looking at trucks being powered from overhead lines as in the olden days of trolley buses, also in a bid to minimise carbon emissions.

Branston Potatoes is confident that electric trucks will enable it to reach its zero carbon emission goal by 2035, although the company is unable to say by which battery chemistry this is likely to be achieved.