If you think an electric Hummer as owned by film star and EV advocate Arnold Schwarzenegger is the bees knees when it comes to massive electric vehicles, think again.
An electric mining dumper made by Kuhn Schweiz AG smashes any such preconceptions, and not only in its enormous 111 tonne bulk.
The specifications of the converted Komatsu eDumper to make it fully electric include a massive 600kWh battery that alone weighs 4.5 tonnes.
Capable of transporting up to 65 tonnes of lime at a time, the mining vehicle uses the battery to get up the uphill leg, and like other electric vehicles uses regenerative braking to recover energy on its downwards leg.
The heavier the load, the more power is recovered.
But don’t take our word for it, take that of 2017 Formula E championship winner Lucas di Grassi who test drove the eDumper and posted a video about it to Youtube on Sunday (Europe time).
“We had 75 tons of rocks and we went out of here with 90%, went all the way to the top,” di Grassi said after a drive uphill from a mine in he eDumper.
“We arrived with 80% battery, loaded up and on our way back, we recovered 8% so we came back with 88% — that’s actually pretty cool.”
The dumper’s ability to recover energy was not the only thing to impress di Grassi, who won the world’s first ABB Formula E race in 2014 and is the most successful driver in the championship’s five year history.
“I understand it has 10 times the battery capacity and three times the power, so it has the same power as three Formula E cars,” he said. “I just saw the motor, it’s huge, it’s super impressive.”
In an industry that is so behest by diesel emissions and the environmental impacts associated with that, electric mining vehicles are rapidly becoming a thing.
With such massive proportions, dumpers are particularly guilty when it comes to carbon emissions.
Each eDumper can save the mining industry up to 50,000 litres of diesel each year and can also reduce CO2 emissions by 130 tonnes a year.
“This is pure magic,” de Grassi said.
“That’s the real-world application of EV. Making it cheaper, more efficient and greener.”
Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the amount of CO2 saved each year by the eDumper is 1.3 million kilograms, and incorrectly measured the diesel used in tonnes, not litres.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.