Controlling energy costs is a critical challenge in any production environment. But when you combine the harsh conditions, safety concerns and regulatory scrutiny that accompanies mining operations, that challenge becomes even more pressing, especially when working with equipment that doesn’t have the greenest of track records.
Well, an electric dump truck made by the Swiss company Kuhn Schweiz AG is hoping to play a big part in changing that legacy. In operation since April, the 121-ton eDumper is the largest electric vehicle on the planet. When fully loaded, it can transport up to 65 tons of mined rock without generating any emissions – thanks to the world’s largest battery, which weighs in at just over 4.5 tons.
As is the case with most EVs, the eDumper is outfitted with regenerative braking. So, when hauling 130,000 pounds of rock or ore downhill from the mine it’s currently working at, those brakes generate more energy than is needed to keep the truck’s battery fully charged.
The world’s largest EV actually began its life utilizing a traditional, diesel engine. However, the company worked with researchers from the Bern University of Applied Sciences to implement an electric motor, the aforementioned record battery and complimentary components.
While it would be nice to see some of that innovative thinking and engineering prowess directed for just a minute in coming up with a better name for the eDumper, its performance is tough to beat. In comparing it to a non-electric vehicle of the same size, projections have it reducing CO2 emissions by up to 2.6 million pounds and saving as many as 130,000 gallons of diesel fuel over its 10-year lifespan.
— Jeff Reinke