The advent of electric transportation in sectors like trucks and buses has led to insane amounts of energy storage going into some vehicles, but now we have a new record.
A partnership between two Swiss companies converted a Komatsu dumper truck with a giant 700 kWh battery pack. This single conversion alone has an impressive impact in term of fuel savings and emission reduction.
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A typical dumper truck consumes between 50,000 and 100,000 liters of diesel per year, depending on its application, and it can emit between ~131 and 262 tonnes of CO2.
Despite the amount of energy required to move this 110-ton beast, it turns out that it can be done with an electric powertrain.
Lithium Storage GmbH and Kuhn Schweiz AG disassembled the Komatsu 605-7 and replaced the diesel engine with a synchronous electric motor capable of 590kW (800hp) of continuous power and up to 9,500 Nm torque.
They originally planned to fit a massive 600 kWh lithium-ion battery pack to power the electric motor, but they actually managed to fit 700 kWh of energy capacity on the chassis of the vehicle by using 1,440 prismatic NMC cells for a total battery pack weight of 4.5 tons.The only other EVs coming close to its energy capacity are some electric buses, like BYD’s 60-ft all-electric bus with a 547 kWh battery pack.
What is interesting about electrifying dumper trucks is that they are often used to carry ore up and down mines. While diesel trucks burn fuel even on their way down a mine, there’s a great opportunity for electric vehicles to actually gain energy on their way down thanks to regenerative braking.
The prototype that they are now completing will be used in a quarry operated by Ciments Vigier SA on the slopes of the Chasseral in Switzerland.
The Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) expects that the truck will be able to recuperate 40 kWh of its way down the quarry – something the truck does 20 times a day for a total of 800 kWh of energy capacity through regenerative braking.
Since they are only converting one vehicle as a prototype, it’s costing Ciments Vigier SA over $1 million to retrofit the truck, but if the trial is successful, they plan to convert up to eight vehicles at the site and Kuhn Schweiz AG, which distributes Komatsu trucks in Europe, could start offering the conversion package to its customers.
The vehicle, now dubbed the e-Dumper, is expected to be ready to start operations this autumn.
With projects like these and others, like the two massive ferries being converted with battery packs in Sweden, it’s clear that electrification of transport is starting to seriously move into larger modes of transportation and heavy-duty machinery.