Tritium has revealed that one of its electric vehicle chargers has designed to charge a fleet of battery electric vehicles at BHP subsidiary BMA’s Moranbah coal mine in Queensland.
The introduction of the BEV relays at the Moranbah mine were announced by Miller Technology, which provided the vehicles to BMA in early July.
As BMW project manager Darren Wood noted in a statement, “Diesel machines create a real hazard in an underground mine and we’ve been on a journey over the past four years to reduce these DPM emissions in the ventilation system.”
Electric vehicles are ideal for use on mining sites as they help to do away with energy-intensive air ventilation needed to clear mines or particulate matter and other emissions.
Mining giant BHP has been experimenting with multiple electric mobility solutions. One trial has seen it partner with Toyota at its Nickel West operations in Western Australia, and in March it inked a deal with Automotive Data of China to support research into the electrification of transport.
The new vehicles at the Moranbah mine will be driven by mining staff to underground sites with low explosion risks.
“We’re thrilled to have found the perfect solution in these Battery Electric Vehicles, which will be used by our Maintenance personnel to travel in Negligible-Explosion Risk Zones (NERZ’s) throughout the underground mine,” Wood said.
Unlike Toyota Landcruisers being converted for the mining industry in a deal with Vivopower, “the ground-up design of the Relay BEV has meant “everything that is mining” has been incorporated into every aspect of the design and production,” according to the company.
With a dual cab configuration, the BEV Relays comfortably carry up to four adults at a time as well as a maximum 2-tonne payload. The mid-mounted motor send peak 150kW power to the front and rear differentials, delivering a hefty maximum 1,550Nm torque.
Rollover protection and telemetry diagnostics that can be transmitted back to a control room help to ensure safety.
Miller Technology says the BEV Relays can be charged within 20 minutes to supply enough range to complete a typical 10-hour mining shift.
“This is made possible by the advanced Battery Management System (BMS), which monitors battery temperature and its enclosed refrigeration temperature monitoring system keeps the temperature within the optimal narrow temperature range. The BMS responds instantly to varied demands while charging and in use helping the Relay to provide 10 years of battery life,” said the company in a statement.
According to Hewitt who posted images of the chargers on LinkedIn, “Tritium’s world-class RT175kW, IP65, liquid-cooled charger now has a mining spec variant and is being used in one of the worlds harshest environments, a coal mine, in Moranbah Queensland!”
The chargers are compliant with wiring and electrical standards AS3000 and AS3007 in line with the requirements on mining operations.
“Expect to see many more of these at mines as they’re easily the most fit for purpose charger on the market,” said Hewitt.
“It was a great team effort at Miller Technology to produce the Relay, the best light-duty BEV for the hard rock sector, and a further fine team effort in collaborating with BHP to develop the Relay into a stunning machine for coal applications,” said Miller technology president Dean Robinson in a response about the charger in Linked In.
“All this was only possible due to Tritium’s team developing the 175 kW fast charger into a mine ready, liquid-cooled, completely sealed unit to meet all mining regulations.”
“Hopefully, within the next two years, we will have electric vehicle options available that can enter all areas of our underground coal mines. We couldn’t be more excited to be at the forefront of these new global initiatives,” said Wood.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.