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Emterra accelerates green fleet vision with electric wheel loaders

Two Volvo CE L25 Electric wheel loaders are part of Metro Vancouver Site's 90 percent electric fleet

An electric wheel loader parked near a loading bay
A Volvo L25 Electric compact wheel loader Emterra

Emterra Group, one of the largest resource management companies in Canada, has consistently been at the forefront of green fleet technology integration. From the early adoption of compressed natural gas collection trucks to the recent purchase of one of Canada's first Mack LR Electric trucks, Emterra has taken the next step toward its environmental goals with the purchase of two Volvo CE L25 Electric compact wheel loaders. 

The machines, currently operating at the Metro Vancouver Central Surrey Recycling and Waste Centre (RWC) in Surrey, British Columbia, play a key role in the handling of waste and loading of trucks. 

The recycling and waste centre, owned by Metro Vancouver and operated and maintained by Emterra, offers a disposal solution for materials beyond what is currently accepted in Surrey's curbside collection program, including mattresses, electronics, and furniture. The $40-million facility - which contributes to a 64 percent diversion rate in Metro Vancouver - is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and divert waste by increasing access to recycling and reducing travel distances for residents. The site's equipment is 90 percent electric, including an electric forklift and a hybrid excavator in addition to the new wheel loaders.

Advantages of electric wheel loaders

The decision to purchase the Volvo L25 Electric wheel loaders was driven by the need for a robust loader capable of managing a weekly influx of 60 metric tons of waste while also adhering to sustainable practices. Emterra decided to invest in two machines to accommodate charging schedules and future changes to operations and workflows at the facility.

"We initially chose two of them rather than just one because the site will eventually start doing night shifts," says George Geldenhuys, fleet maintenance manager for Emterra. "We needed to be able to swap them out and have them charge because we really didn't know how these electric units were going to hold up in our setting, or how long they were going to need to charge. They last around five hours in our application, and with the fast charger we can pretty much charge them over a lunch period."

According to the Emterra team, the advantages of electric wheel loaders are substantial. Beyond their eco-friendly credentials, they provide a quieter work environment due to their reduced noise and allow for operation in enclosed spaces. 

"It feels like they have more power than their diesel counterparts. It was a little bit interesting for the operators to switch over to them because these electric ones, they stop and go a little bit differently. They're a little bit faster to pull off," says Geldenhuys. "They're actually way better, and there has been way less servicing. We don't have radiators and everything to clean every day. It pretty much just takes some grease and keeps going."

Equipped with Volvo scrap buckets and solid tires, the electric loaders are highly effective in managing waste and recyclables while still aligning with Emterra's larger objective of transforming the Surrey RWC into a fully carbon-neutral facility. The electric loaders' quieter operation also allow operators to be more aware of their surroundings by improving their ability to hear and see everything happening in the work environment, thus improving overall safety.

Aiming for a 100% percent electric fleet

Emterra's adoption of electric wheel loaders offers a promising glimpse into a more environmentally friendly future for the industry as they continue to explore and integrate green technologies.

"It's very important that we have the know-how, that we collect the data, we study the data, and we compare between conventional equipment and electric equipment," says Chris Ghanem, head of operations at Emterra Group. 

Emterra continues to focus on transitioning to electric equipment with an upcoming trial run of Volvo CE's full-size electric excavator, the EC230 Electric, early next year.

Company info

1122 Pioneer Road
Burlington, ON
CA, L7M 1K4


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304 Volvo Way
Shippensburg, PA
US, 17257


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