FIRSTGREEN Industries entered the market in 2019 with the Elise900, the world’s first fully electric skid steer loader, manufactured in the Czech Republic. Later, FIRSTGREEN introduced the second machine in our line-up, the compact track loader MiniZ400. They currently operate world-wide, with more than 50 dealers around the globe, and are still the only widely available electric skid steer on the market.
Interview with Matěj Chalupa, Sales Support Manager at FIRSTGREEN Industries.
Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?
Matěj Chalupa: We are the pioneers and leaders in the electric skid steer market. We focus mainly on production, R&D and technical support for our customer and dealers. We function as a B2B company, and are now focusing on expanding our dealer network.
E.E: What’s the news about new products?
M.C: We have recently released the 3rd generation of our biggest machine, the Elise900, introducing several improvements and advancements to the surface coating, drive software, electrical components, motors and hydraulics. For the smaller of our duo, the MiniZ, we’re working on improving the telemetry and rigidity of the construction with an option called “the demolition kit,” which will beef up the machine to perform even better in the dangerous and arduous environment of interior construction and demolition. The 3rd generation is also coming to the MiniZ, however we are expecting that later this year.
We are continuously striving to improve our products and the service we provide, so over time, we are adjusting and changing the characteristics of our machines, mainly thanks to the feedback we receive from users.
E.E: What are the ranges of products?
M.C: FIRSTGREEN Industries currently produces two products. The Elise900, and her smaller brother, the MiniZ. Both of them are revolutionary machines in their own right, the first of their kind opening a completely new market segment.
Both of our machines utilize lead-acid batteries, a prove technology which is the ideal standard for skid steers and other heavy equipment. Thanks to their significant weight, it gives our machines unparalleled stability without the need for additional ballast.
The Elise900 can compete with the best of the best in the large size skid steer market, and in many regards, such as hinge pin height or tilt angles, is actually the market leader. We offer the Elise in two configurations, based on the battery size. The smaller battery with 225Ah capacity gives the Elise the ability to work for up to 5 hours, and lift capacity of 900 kilograms. The larger 400Ah battery, which weighs in at around 1300kg, increases the capabilities significantly, boosting the lifting capacity to 1200kg, and allows the machine to work for over 8 hours.
The MiniZ is a compact tracked loader, which is the ideal tool for interior construction and demolition, thanks to the fact it’s less than 79cm wide and can thus fit through most standard sized doorway. Despite its small size, the MiniZ can easily lift 400kg, and work continuously for up to 8 hours.
Both of our machines can also utilize a wide variety of attachments, from buckets, pallet forks, augers and snowblowers, to sweepers and hydraulic hammers. This makes our machines incredibly versatile, as they can work in pretty much any industry or area, from agriculture and landscaping, to construction, facility management or demolition.
E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?
M.C: The market for electric skid steer loaders is an entirely new segment, and a very niche one at that, but we see the progress every month, as the knowledge about these machines spreads, and the demand increases.
We are still in the infancy of electrically powered loaders, not just skid steers, but due to increasingly pressing questions of environmental consciousness, fossil fuel prices, and the wider availability of renewable energy, we feel strongly about the potential of this market and our products.
E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?
M.C: As is mentioned above, this market is an entirely new animal, and as such, it is really difficult to try and gauge trends.
Perhaps one of the trends we are noticing now, is the big interest newly coming from the agriculture sector, which is now aiming to reduce its carbon footprint, as well as relaying more on their own electricity production thanks to solar panels or small-scale wind turbines.
Our machines are perfectly suited for life on the farm, as they are silent, don’t produce smog, and the MiniZ is perfect for fitting even inside the tightest of stables and cow sheds.
E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?
M.C: Both of our products are innovative, ground breaking even. After all, we produced the world’s first electric skid steer.
But if I had to pick one, I’d go for the MiniZ. There are no compact loaders like it. We have seen some competitors, but it still remains wholly unique, as it combines the best of all segments into one compact, tremendously powerful package.
E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022?
M.C: In 2022, we plan on growing our dealer network by a significant margin, and we plan to have more than 80 active dealers, and we expect a turnover of over 14 million euros.
However, the main goal we have is to improve our machines even further, to keep pushing in the terms of R&D, and to grow the brand awareness of FIRSTGREEN Industries even more.
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