JCB 19C-1E electric mini excavator review (2023)

The world's first working electric excavator has touched down in Australia. We take an exclusive first look

With climate change and environmental sustainability on everyone's lips, more corporations around the world are proactively taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint.

In the heavy industry and transportation sectors in particular, where engine emissions are an issue, the pressure is on for businesses to adopt more sustainable practices and work towards a carbon-neutral future. One way that businesses are achieving this is by electrifying machines, with emissions-free electric cars and buses already zooming around on public roads.

Electrification is hardly a new concept in the construction industry. For years, manufacturers around the world have tried to outdo each other in the electric game but there hasn't been a successful, volume-production electric excavator available until now.

JCB 19C-1E electric mini excavator review (1)

JCB's 19C-1E is the world's first fully electric excavator available on the market right now and ready for work.

JCB pipped the others to the post when it announced its 1.9-tonne 19C-1E electric mini excavator in late 2019. The company claims it is the industry's first wireless electric excavator that emits zero emissions at point of use, while also being at least five times quieter than its diesel counterparts.

It is the first in the company's E-TECH range of electric machines and is based on JCB's existing 19C-1 diesel mini excavator. It inherits almost all other features from its diesel counterpart except the engine.

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The 19C-1 E-TECH, to give its full name, is equipped with the same adjustable undercarriage and choice of digging equipment as the diesel model. It provides a maximum digging depth of 2576mm with the longer 1100mm dipper arm.

Distributed in Australia by CEA, the JCB 19C-1E has reportedly received a huge amount of interest right across the country. We were lucky enough to witness one in action and even hop in for a test drive.

Heart of the machine

The most significant difference between the 19C-1E and a conventional diesel excavator is the lack of a noisy, emissions-heavy engine. In its place is a three-pack manganese-laminated 48-volt lithium-ion battery (four-pack optional), an electric motor and an AC drive system.

(Video) JCB Electric Excavator / Mini Digger JCB 19C-1E E-TEC zero emissions electric digger | Fully Charged

The absence of a diesel engine effectively means lower maintenance, as operators need not worry about fuel, engine oil and other treatments associated with a conventional engine.

JCB 19C-1E electric mini excavator review (3)

A three-pack manganese-laminated 48-volt lithium-ion battery, an electric motor and an AC drive system sit in place of a conventional diesel engine in the 19C-1E.

The standard charging option for the 19C-1E is via a 240-volt, 15-amp plug that charges the machine in eight hours. An offboard charging option offering a lighting fast charge time of about two hours is also available.

"Off an eight-hour standard charge time, you get four hours of continuous use with the ability to opportunity charge throughout the day for that extra runtime," said JCB CEA Territory Manager, Ryan Carroll.

"The machine itself has a roughly 10,000-hour life-cycle on the batteries with a reduction of 15 per cent after that."

JCB 19C-1E electric mini excavator review (4)

No emissions, low noise

JCB said its 19C-1E mini excavator emits zero emissions at point of use, which means no suffocating fumes commonly associated with a diesel machine.

Of course this benefits not only the workers in and around the machine but also the environment, which has been adversely affected over decades of spiking carbon emissions.

Another significant benefit of the 19C-1 E-TECH is noise – or the lack thereof. Besides a slight hum in work mode, the 19C-1E makes no noise whatsoever. According to JCB, the noise level in-cab is at a mere 68dB, which is 10dB less than the diesel version.

There is no mistaking when a diesel machine erupts into life, but the electric unit was so quiet upon start-up that I barely noticed it was in operation.

JCB 19C-1E electric mini excavator review (5)

(Video) JCB 19C-1E Electric Excavator: Review

A blue indicator light to the right of the operator lights up when the machine is started up.

One way to tell is via a blue indicator light to the right of the operator seat, which lights up when the machine is switched on.

One big benefit here is that workers need not yell at each other from outside or within the cab when conversing with one other – there's no longer any need to shut the excavator down in order to hear your colleagues.

The lack of noise and emissions also means the 19C-1E is perfect for work on urban worksites and indoors where noise and air pollution pose a significant problem. It can even be put to work after hours if required to fast-track a project, when conventional machines would be sidelined by noise restrictions.


The 19C-1E shares the same structure, canopy, dig end, hydraulics and controls as the diesel unit and performs in exactly the same way.

ISO controls in the cab mean operators don't even need to be familiar with JCB machines to hop in and start driving. The only difference in the cab is a battery gauge replacing a fuel gauge on the right-hand indicator panel, showing available charge instead of available fuel.

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A battery gauge replaced the conventional fuel gauge showing how much charge the 19C-1E has.

After having a go in the machine myself, I'm pleasantly surprised to find out just how smoothly it moves and how well it digs. The feel and performance is no different from a conventional machine, in fact JCB argues the 19C-1E performs better than its diesel sibling.

"The feedback we're getting from demonstrations we're running is a better in-ground feeling," Carroll said.

JCB 19C-1E electric mini excavator review (7)

ISO controls in the cab mean anyone with experience operating any brand of excavator can hop in and start digging.

(Video) Konepörssi testing JCB 19C-1E.

"That reverts back to the hydraulics that are run by an AC drive, which gives you more torque and a better dig."

Sturdy as she goes

The 19C-1E has been built to handle the toughest of conditions, and features 100 per cent steel bodywork for maximum protection.

It also comes with a full-width rear cast counterweight to offer protection against any possible site damage.

The extendable undercarriage beams have been constructed from 25mm solid steel plates for excellent rigidity.

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The canopy is ROPS, TOPS and FOGS certified and capable of protecting operators from hazards on the job site.

The 19C-1 E-TECH has a new box-section main boom and dipper arm, with all hoses routed through the boom structure for added protection. The boom pins and dozer pivot points come with sealed and graphite-infused bushings with 500-hour greasing intervals for reduced and easy maintenance.

Safety is also front and centre on the 19C-1 E-TECH excavator, as its 'habitat' is most likely tight workspaces amid nearby workers and other equipment.

JCB's unique 2GO system disengages all controls until the 2GO button on the control panel is activated.

JCB 19C-1E electric mini excavator review (9)

When the control pod on the left of the operator is raised, all controls are isolated and disengaged, which will prevent any accidental movement of the machine, boom or dipper.

The lack of a tether or "umbilical cord", as JCB puts it, to power the machine eliminates tripping hazards.

While the excavator is very quiet when in operation, it still features the full audio-visual warning system such as reversing alarms and a rotating beacon to alert people in the vicinity to the fact that the machine is in use.

(Video) JCB Electric Mini Digger 19C-1E Review

Last words

A cliché as it may sound, I think JCB's 19C-1E excavator is a serious game changer in the industry; it certainly blazes the trail for other manufacturers to follow.

In fact, a number of other prominent companies in the industry have stepped up to the plate with their own electric range. Wacker Neuson has released an electric wheel loader that is already on the market; Volvo Construction Equipment is launching its electric loader and excavator in 2020; and Case Construction announced its fully electric backhoe earlier this year.

JCB 19C-1E electric mini excavator review (10)

Yes, an electric machine is more expensive to buy than a conventional one, but JCB says the lower cost of ownership, reduced downtime and lower maintenance over time more than make up for the higher purchase price.

The JCB 19C-1E costs around $80,000 depending on the specifications. It is now in stock in JCB dealerships nationwide and is available for demonstrations upon request.

Judging by this first look, I have a feeling worksites around the world will start to look and sound a whole lot different in years to come…

SEE ALSO: JCB hydrogen excavator a 'world first'

JCB 19C-1E electric mini excavator specifications

Battery Type: Manganese laminated Lithium-ion

Gross Capacity: 14.8kWh (3 pack)

System Voltage: 48V

Indicative Run Time: 4 hours (3 pack), 5 hours (4 pack), based upon typical duty cycle

Charging options: 110V, 230V or 415V

Operating weight (kg): 1862-1902

Width over tracks– retracted (mm): 980

Width over tracks - extended (mm): 1330

(Video) JCB 19C-1E Electric Mini Excavator - Key Facts

Max Dig Depth (m): 2.6

Max Dump Height (m): 2.6m

Pricing: From $80,000


What is the best mini excavator for the price? ›

Comparing the Best Mini Excavators on the Market
  • Best Overall: Yanmar ViO35-6A. ...
  • Best Budget Option: Bobcat E26. ...
  • Best Mini Household Excavator: Kubota K0008-3. ...
  • Best Electric Mini Excavator: Volvo ECR25. ...
  • Best Mini Excavator for Small Projects: Komatsu PCO1-1. ...
  • Best Customizable Option: John Deere 35G.
7 Apr 2022

How long does an electric digger last? ›

Quick Charge

The standard 3 battery pack offering gives 4 hours of continuous use; equivalent to a full day's typical work for the machine. The new 19C-1E is the industry's first fully electric mini excavator. It lets you do a full day's work on a single charge, giving you access to a whole new world of possibilities.

What size mini excavator is best? ›

Mini Excavator size: 3 to 5 tons

This is the most versatile machine and the best size mini excavator for many projects. A machine in this size bracket is a full-function mini excavator, suitable for everything from removing stumps to leveling a driveway or digging in a hot tub.

How much does a JCB mini excavator weigh? ›

Choosing a compact excavator just got easier thanks to JCB's new generation of compact digging machines, including the 19C-1, a conventional tailswing machine available with cab as standard or available canopy, and operating weights of 4,211 lb (1,910 kg) or 4,034 lb (1,830 kg) respectively.

What is the life expectancy of a mini excavator? ›

Mini-excavators typically offer a similar average lifespan of around 10,000 hours. For both excavators and mini-excavators, you'll want to pay special attention to the undercarriage wear and the condition of the tracks.

What is the number 1 mini excavator? ›

1. Kubota. If you're working on a small farm, the Kubota mini excavator has been labeled as the “Best Buy” by Farm Show. Even though the Kubota KX161-3 is only 2,200 pounds, it can pick up 4,000 pounds of rocks and dig holes as deep as 12 feet.

How many feet can a mini excavator dig in a day? ›

"That's one trench with one operator, opening up 10,000 feet of trench per day, whereas one excavator can open up 1,000 to 1,500 feet per day. "So our trencher will take the place of half a dozen excavator operators, plus the fuel they burn and the maintenance their machines take.

How many yards can a mini excavator dig in a day? ›

An excavator could be used to dig anywhere from 350 to 1,000 cubic yards per day, depending on a number of factors including bucket capacity, type of ground, operator skill and efficiency level, and more.

Is it worth buying a mini digger? ›

The biggest advantage of the mini excavator is its compact size, which allows for excellent manoeuvrability, even in tight spaces. Generally, they are also more affordable, fuel efficient, and easier to operate than wheeled, tracked or truck-mounted excavators.

What are good hours on a mini excavator? ›

Lifespan of a Mini Excavator

Heavy use and poor maintenance can quickly reduce that to about 8,000 hours. When shopping for a used mini excavator, experts agree that you should aim for a machine manufactured in the last three years with, ideally, less than 2,000 hours.

Do mini excavators hold their value? ›

But with good maintenance and care, excavators in this size range can go 5,000 to 6,000 hours before needing rebuilds. This, combined with the fact that as a secondary machine a compact excavator can go years with only minor wear-part replacement, means that you get good value for your money over a long period of time.

How much does a mini JCB cost? ›

2870 Kg JCB Mini Excavator 24.7 Hp 30 Plus, 18.4kW (24.7 hp) at Rs 2450000 in Noida.

What engine is in a JCB mini digger? ›

The JCB 8025 ZTS mini excavator boasts a 1.5 litre Perkins 20.9 kW engine and a two-speed tracking motor.

What is the cost of JCB excavator? ›

The price of JCB Excavator products is between ₹200,000 - ₹4,150,000 per Piece during Nov '21 - Oct '22.
FR Solutions Private Limited.
JCB ExcavatorPrice
October '22₹1,700,001/Piece
July '22₹3,150,000/Piece
April '22₹2,345,000/Piece
January '22₹2,500,000/Piece

Is 7000 hours a lot for an excavator? ›

On average, an excavator can last between 7,000 and 10,000 hours, providing it has been looked after, not damaged and has had plenty of maintenance. This is just a ballpark, and of course the lifetime hours may differ from brand to brand.

Can a mini excavator break concrete? ›

These machines are so versatile you can do just about any type of construction work with them -- from using a hammer to break up concrete to digging holes for landscape work.

Is buying an excavator a good investment? ›

While new excavators are costly, they have long lifespans, which means that you won't have to make this investment often. Also, because of the same reason, many used excavators are very reliable, and you'll still be able to use them for many years to come.

Which company excavator is best? ›

12 Popular Excavator Manufacturing Companies
  • Caterpillar. Caterpillar, the world's largest manufacturer of construction equipment, offers more than 300 machines in its product line and features many different sizes of excavators. ...
  • Komatsu. ...
  • John Deere. ...
  • Bobcat. ...
  • JCB. ...
  • Doosan. ...
  • Hyundai. ...
  • Volvo.
14 Jul 2022

Is mini excavator better than backhoe? ›

Backhoes are also a better fit for projects that require a lot of hauling or transportation across the work site. Mini excavators are usually better suited for projects with repetitive tasks, because they can rotate while stationary without the need to drive around or reposition the attachment.

Can you make money with a mini excavator? ›

Compact excavators are known for being efficient digging machines. But, when paired with the right attachments and a coupler system, compact excavators can perform a wide variety of tasks (beyond excavation) and generate new revenue sources.

How steep of a hill can a mini excavator climb? ›

“Generally, an excavator should not be operated beyond a 70% slope due to engine lubrication requirements,” says Lumpkins. “Some deep oil pans might allow engine lubrication at greater angles, but you are needlessly risking not only the engine lubrication issue, but traction to the ground.”

Should I wet the ground before digging? ›

Soil that's turned over when wet will form clods that will be very difficult to break apart later, Trinklein said. This is because wet soil is more easily compacted than dry soil. He recommends the “baseball test” before you start digging.

How fast can you dig a trench with a mini excavator? ›

A project that would take one person a full day to dig, a mini excavator could do in an hour or less.

How deep of a trench can a mini excavator dig? ›

Mini excavator applications

Generally speaking, these machines are used for digging, trenching, backfilling, leveling, grading and even drilling. When it comes to digging, a 3,000-3,999 pound mini excavator can dig a 7.8-foot-deep hole, while 7,000-9,999 pound excavators can dig as deep as 10.2 feet.

Can a mini excavator dig through frozen ground? ›

They come in a variety of sizes and can thaw 18” of solid frozen ground in 24-48 hours. Depending on how deep the ice runs, you may be able to muscle through the ice with the brute force of a mini excavator.

Can you push dirt with a mini excavator? ›

The mini excavator has a powerful blade with the ability to stabilize the mini excavator. The blade can also be used to push a large amount of dirt into a pile or push the concrete into the hole of the swimming pool or spa.

Is a mini excavator good for clearing land? ›

Excavators. Mini excavators can be used for larger-scale land clears and are used for digging, earthmoving, and removing debris. These machines can use several different types of attachments to help clear land, such as mulchers.

Is owning a excavator profitable? ›

Most Profitable: Mini Excavators

They are relatively low cost to buy, but you can charge a relatively high price when billing. The cost for mini excavators also benefits because transportation is inexpensive, fuel use is low, and maintenance costs are mini, too!

How often should you service a mini digger? ›

And today we're going to look at the ease of service features on the Next Generation Mini Excavators. Service intervals. So it's 500 hours for your engine oil and filter, 400 hours for your fuel filter, and 500 hours for your hydraulic filter.

Where is JCB excavator made? ›

The decision to start manufacturing in India in 1979 heralded a period of global expansion as Anthony Bamford spotted the potential of this market. Today JCB has factories in New Delhi, Pune and Jaipur and India is now JCB's biggest market behind the United Kingdom.

Which country made JCB excavator? ›

JCB is a British multinational manufacturer of equipment for construction, agriculture, waste handling, and demolition, founded in 1945 and based in Rocester, Staffordshire, England.

What mini excavator has the best warranty? ›

Yanmar Compact Equipment offers one of the industry's best warranties on its mini excavators — a 4-year/4,000-hour bucket-to-counterweight warranty — reinforcing its claim of industry-leading reliability.

How long should you let an excavator warm up? ›

You need to start moving the machine slowly to warm up the whole system and hydraulics. I usually recommend 90-120 seconds of idle time at the end of a work day before an operator completely shuts off the machine.

What should you not do in an excavator? ›

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, but whenever possible it's best to avoid digging over your drive motors. The drive motors are expensive to replace and digging over them causes unnecessary stress on the component, increases the rate of wear and tear, and accelerates the time to replacement.

How often do you change oil in mini excavator? ›

Clean the fill and drain plugs regularly, and remember to change the oil every 1,000 hours, or at whatever interval the manufacturer recommends, usually one-half to one quart. The propel drive gearbox in your excavator is small, easily forgotten – but expensive to replace.

What should I look for in a used mini excavator? ›

If possible, try to find a used mini excavator for sale that has less than 2,000 hours on it. This will ensure that the machine is in the best possible condition and will last you for many years to come.
Do an Operational Test
  • Simulating digging cycles.
  • Swinging the boom.
  • Opening and closing the bucket.
  • Extending the stick.
8 Mar 2022

Which model is best in JCB? ›

The JCB 3DX Super Backhoe Loader is equipped with JCB ecoMax 444 engine that has been tested for 1lakh+ cumulative hours in India and is the most reliable engine available in the category.

How much a JCB can excavate in a day? ›

It is very important to know the Rate Analysis of Excavation as The excavation capacity of the JCB ranges from 700 cu ft. to 1200 cu ft. per hour, depending upon the type of soil & bucket capacity. So JCB can Excavate 5 to 6 Excavation Pit can dig.

How much fuel does a JCB use per hour? ›

6. It offers best-in-class fuel efficiency of 4.5* litres per hour.

Does JCB use Cummins engines? ›

JCB have updated their 457 wheel loader to meet the upcoming EU Stage V emissions legislation, moving from the previous Tier IV final MTU power unit to a Cummins engine, as currently used in both the JCB 427 and 437 models.

Do JCB make their own engines? ›

In 2005 JCB had developed and finally launched their own engine the Dieselmax.

Do JCB use Perkins engines? ›

Until 2004 Perkins manufactured engines for JCB, but since then JCB manufactures their own engines.

Is JCB a good brand? ›

JCB is known around the world for its powerful, quality construction and agricultural equipment.

Which company owns JCB? ›

The JCB Leading manufacturer of Earth moving and Construction equipments in India. The Company was started at 1979 with owned subsidiary of J.C. Bamford excavators, United Kingdom. Now day JCB Company Manufacture 50 product, which are not only sold in india but there was exported to more than 70 Countries.

Is JCB and excavator same? ›

JCB Excavators. The best-in-class range of JCB Excavators comprises heavy-duty Excavators that exhibit maximum performance, strength, efficiency and productivity. For over four decades, JCB has been a name to be reckoned with among the excavator manufacturers of the world.

Can you clear land with a mini excavator? ›

Excavators. Mini excavators can be used for larger-scale land clears and are used for digging, earthmoving, and removing debris. These machines can use several different types of attachments to help clear land, such as mulchers.

What is the difference between a mini excavator and an excavator? ›

Size—The mini excavator (also called the compact excavator) is smaller than the standard excavator. Control—The mini excavator also has a reduced tail-swing or even a zero tail-swing, which makes it easier to make tight turns and maneuver in small, cramped or narrow job sites, like parking lots, for instance.

What mini excavator is made in USA? ›

Kobelco Construction Machinery USA has introduced the SK45SRX-7 mini excavator model for North America. Mini models play a key role in landscaping, utilities and on small construction projects, but they can also provide vital support on larger jobsites too.

Which is better Kubota or Bobcat? ›

Kubota has the edge when it comes to horsepower – 96.4 hp to the Bobcat loader's 92 hp.

Who make John Deere mini excavators? ›

John Deere and Wacker Neuson will collaborate on the development of excavators less than 5-metric-tons, including battery electric excavators, that will be manufactured by Wacker Neuson.


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