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How Is Industrial Electrification Changing Our World? Here Are 10 Examples

Leaf blowers, lawnmowers, forklifts, farm tractors, and even heavy trucks—it isn’t just cars and SUVs that are going electric.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are finally beginning to appear on the car-buying public’s radar, driven largely by a need to reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve urban air quality. According to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the transportation sector generates 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, the largest share of any category. Over 90 percent of the fuel used for transportation is petroleum-based, which includes primarily gasoline and diesel.

While almost all the electrification attention has been focused on passenger cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks, there is an entire other sector that historically uses internal combustion engines (ICEs) powered by fossil fuels. Industrial machinery, including everything from leaf blowers and lawnmowers to forklifts and construction equipment, to tractors and farm machinery could benefit from a transition away from fossil fuels to electrification.

Moving industrial equipment away from fossil fuels has the potential to significantly reduce GHG emissions. California’s Air Resources Board estimates that “operating the best-selling commercial lawn mower for one hour emits as much smog-forming pollution as driving the best-selling 2017 passenger car, a Toyota Camry, about 300 miles – approximately the distance from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. For the best-selling commercial leaf blower, one hour of operation emits smog-forming pollution comparable to driving a 2017 Toyota Camry about 1100 miles, or approximately the distance from Los Angeles to Denver.”

There is great potential: here are 10 applications where industrial electrification has already started making a difference.  

Kevin Clemens is a Senior Editor with Battery Technology.

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