An electric vehicle charging station designed to handle the toughest underground mining conditions in Australia is set to be tested as part of a collaboration between W.A.-based Murray Engineering and global tech giant Siemens.
The vehicle agnostic charging stations are based on Siemens Sicharge UC high power DC chargers, with outputs ranging from 125kW to 600kW, and with five front-ends on each station as well as pantograph (overhead) charging.
Murray Engineering, a specialist in underground mining services, is designing and making the heavy-duty enclosure for the charging unit, to protect it and allow for ease of use and manoeuvrability in tight, encloses spaces.
The high-powered units will allow underground mining vehicles – such as the new light electric vehicle (eLV) currently being designed and manufactured by Murray Engineering – to be fully charged in minutes.
Murray Engineering also brings to the deal access to test the charging solution through its parent company the Byrnecut Group, the largest underground mining contractor in the country, and owner of one of the largest fleets of light vehicles used in mines.
The first of Murray Engineering’s eLVs will be ready for testing by the end of the year, with potential application at mine sites by mid next year, the company said. A Siemens Sicharge UC200 (200kW) is already onsite at Murray Engineering headquarters in Pinjarra.
“Being part of the largest underground mining contracting company in Australia, we understand the vehicle requirements very well and are well placed to develop a solution that not only matches, but also pre-empts the needs of our customers and the industry,” said Murray Engineering’s manager of innovation and technology, Max Ong.
“Many existing electric vehicles designed for mining are matched to their own specific charging station, making the solution inefficient and expensive in the long run.
“The solution we are working on will be vehicle agnostic and has the potential to be scaled up as required.”
Siemens Australia Pacific CEO Jeff Connolly said the project continued the company’s trajectory of helping to provide safer, quicker, more cost effective and sustainable solutions.
“The partnership with Murray Engineering helps address a future need by trialling something that has never been done in one of Australia’s most critical industries,” Connolly said.
“The importance of local manufacturing on Australian soil has never been so important,” added Dr Ong.