These mining giants are among the last vehicles that we imagined going electric. Yet Caterpillar is working on this transition with its customers.
It’s not the largest mining hauler in the Caterpillar lineup, but the 793 electric truck is already impressive. On November 22, Caterpillar carried out a unique demonstration of its first large mining truck powered by electric batteries. It is quite a symbol that accompanies these first tests of the manufacturer.
While Volvo is working on hydrogen dumpers, Caterpillar is venturing towards battery-powered electric vehicles. When a thermal engine like the 793F already weighs 122,300 kg with an 85 L displacement engine, we are certainly no longer within a few kilos to include electric batteries to replace the thermal engine. In any case, the demonstration in real conditions is interesting.
A first test for an electric mining truck
In order to give credit to this first test, Caterpillar sought to approximate real working conditions. Thus, the prototype was tested on a course of 7 kilometers. and its skip was fully loaded to its rated capacity. Several factors were carefully observed by the customers present for the occasion:
- The top speed of the loaded vehicle;
- Uphill speed on a 10% grade;
- Downhill behavior on a 10% grade.
Caterpillar also monitored numerous sensors to validate data previously obtained in simulation.
From this first demonstration, we can remember that the truck reached a maximum speed of 60 km/h, equivalent to a similar thermal model. The loaded truck traveled one kilometer on a 10% uphill grade at a speed of 12 km/h. The truck also traveled one kilometer on a 10% grade, taking advantage of the descent to capture energy that would normally be lost as heat.
Regenerative braking, on a machine of this size, appears to be quite a challenge to manage and optimize. In any case, it seems to have worked since at the end of the race, the truck retained enough energy in the battery to complete other complete cycles.
Caterpillar has yet to release more information on the spec sheet for this electric 793. In addition, these are only the first tests in real conditions of a machine produced in a very short time.
Major mining sites must also adapt to reduce their emissions
Like the rest of the world, mining sites are affected by the energy transition and must organize themselves to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and their pollution. To lead by example, Caterpillar has invested in transforming its Arizona test track into a functional and sustainable “mine site of the future”, using renewable energy as well. The objective is to implement the same sustainable solutions as the client mining companies.
Through this electrified demonstration mine site and this first electric prototype, Caterpillar says it wants to help promote these changes to its customers. Denise Johnson, Group President of Resource Industries, said: This demonstration is an important milestone, and we look forward to seeing these trucks get to work at customer sites around the world in the near future. »
The mining industry is one of the ten main sectors that emit the most greenhouse gases in the world. The website Climate Tracepresented by former US Vice President and climate activist Al Gore at COP 27puts it in tenth position, with 0.1% of total global emissions — i.e. 400 million tonnes in CO equivalent2. There is some bread on a wooden board.