No exhaust fumes and less noise on the construction site: more and more crawler cranes and deep foundation machines from Liebherr’s Nenzing factory are being made available as unplugged versions. That means they can be used wirelessly with a battery – and have the same power as with a conventional drive. Michael Flecker and Sascha Bechterfrom Liebherr-Werk Nenzing GmbH know why both types of drive compliment each other perfectly and why each has its own justification.

It might be said that Michael Flecker grew up with Liebherr crawler cranes. At the very least, they have had a massive influence on his professional life. He first came in contact with crawler cranes in 2005 when he started his career at Liebherr as an international fitter – and has remained loyal to them ever since. Since April 2022, the Vorarlberg native has been Head of Sales Crawler Cranes in Nenzing. Flecker has previously seen a lot of the world and was, among other things, customer service manager at Liebherr USA in Houston for several years. There he helped to build up the crawler crane segment and continuously developed it with feedback from customers.

Five unplugged machines are as loud as one diesel-powered machine.

Michael Flecker, Head of Sales Crawler Cranes

Electric and battery powered machines may have started as a trend however, they are now becoming more prominent in the construction industry. Of all the construction equipment products released in 2022, almost half were electric machines. The electric equipment market is also predicted to almost triple in size by 2027, with much of its growth being attributed to steps that governments around the world are taking to reduce carbon emissions to net zero. In the US alone, goals are being set to use 100 % zero emissions energy by as early as 2035. The clear advantage of the unplugged series is that the battery-powered units do not cause C0₂ emissions on the construction site.

Electric machines are also very quiet and therefore ideal for urban areas – an advantage for both residents and construction site workers. Many cities have noise regulations forcing work to end at a specified time, so quieter electric machines allow work to go one past regular working hours, increasing efficiency and giving more flexibility to contractors. “Five unplugged machines are as loud as one diesel-powered machine,” Flecker explains.

The first unplugged crawler cranes came onto the market at the end of 2020. The Liebherr unplugged machines were launched in 2019 with the LB 16 unplugged drilling rig – the world’s first battery-powered drilling rig. Within a short period of time, there are now a total of nine models coming from Liebherr’s Nenzing plant in Austria that are also available as unplugged versions.

What sets the unplugged machines apart from other electric machines on the market is the type of equipment Liebherr is producing. With the largest segment of electric machines across the industry today being excavators and wheel loaders, Liebherr saw an opportunity to break into a product category that had not yet seen significant development for electric machines. Offering battery-powered crawler cranes and drilling rigs not often seen in the electric equipment market sets Liebherr apart from competitors. The battery-powered machines achieve the same performance as the diesel versions and are identical in their operation. Another advantage of Liebherr products is the complete package of drive concept and machine, because unlike its competitors, Liebherr offers both from a single source.

The unplugged series also strike the right tone with new customers. “Many customers choose our battery-powered machines because they believe in the technology and want to be the first to use it in their market,” explains Flecker.“ In some countries these electric machines are actually a distinct competitive advantage, and of course in the United States as well.”

Together with the customer, it is important to individually decide which drive technology is right for the construction site and the application.

Sascha Bechter, Head of Sales Deep Foundation Machines and Material Handling Equipment

However, even though unplugged construction machines have many advantages, they are not best suited for every use or application. That’s why all unplugged units from Nenzing remain available with conventional drives. “Together with the customer, it is important to individually decide which drive technology is right for the construction site and the application,” adds Sascha Bechter, Head of Sales Deep Foundation Machines and Material Handling Equipment at Liebherr-Werk Nenzing GmbH. The 48-year-old is a true Liebherr veteran. He started his career at Liebherr more than 30 years ago as an operational electrician in Nenzing, before being drawn to Liebherr’s international companies for many years. Whether in the USA, Great Britain, Italy or Singapore: “I have never worked for any company other than Liebherr,” says Bechter.

That’s why he knows Liebherr construction machines and their applications in the field particularly well – and can judge which drive type suits which customer. Construction sites in rural or remote areas, for example, are typical applications where conventional drives are more suitable. This is because these places do not usually have the infrastructure needed for electric machines. Diesel-powered machines are sometimes also more suitable in the early stages of a construction project or for short-term assignments because the necessary charging infrastructure for the electric motors is often not available when a construction site is first set up. Flecker and Bechter agree that all types of drive have their justification. That’s why Liebherr takes an approach that is open to technology, where every customer gets what is best suited to them and their construction site.


With the LB 16 unplugged, Liebherr introduces the world's first large drilling rig with battery-electric drive.


World première: Liebherr launches the first battery-powered crawler cranes, the LR 1200.1 unplugged and LR 1250.1 unplugged.


Another electric product line is released with LRH 200 unplugged and LRH 100.1 unplugged piling rigs. The first electric machine debuted in the US with the LR 1250.1 unplugged during Customer Day.


Liebherr’s unplugged drilling rigs are presented at Conexpo.

This may be of interest to you

360° in one view

360° in one view

Automation, artificial intelligence, and autonomization: The digital construction site of tomorrow has many facets and does not leave even the smallest components of mobile machines - the electronics - unscathed. Assistance systems like Liebherr’s LiXplore® Bird’s Eye surround view system ensure more efficiency and comfort on the construction site.

Read more
We as an employer

We as an employer

We are always on the lookout for talented people who will contribute their expertise and enthusiasm to the Liebherr Group in many different fields.

Job vacancies
The Group magazine

The Group magazine

In the Magazine, you can find a look behind the scenes at Liebherr. Everyday heroes are introduced and solutions for tomorrow's problems are presented. Expect exciting stories about people who achieve great things together with Liebherr.

To the magazine