World’s biggest electric truck is energy positive

2017-10-12 06:01
PHOTO: suppliedThis old Komatsu tipper will be the largest electric vehicle in the world when its Swiss creators finish tests in December. The truck has a 4,5-ton 700-kWh battery pack and will work in a cement quarry and carry loads downhill to generate more power than it uses going back uphill.

PHOTO: suppliedThis old Komatsu tipper will be the largest electric vehicle in the world when its Swiss creators finish tests in December. The truck has a 4,5-ton 700-kWh battery pack and will work in a cement quarry and carry loads downhill to generate more power than it uses going back uphill.

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SWISS quarry miner Ciments Vigier in Switzerland paid over a million Swiss francs (over R13,6 million) to build the largest electric vehicle yet.

The miner presented Lithium Storage and Kuhn Switzerland with a used Komatsu truck in 2015 and the companies has since created an energy positive truck.

This is because the 110-ton truck carries its load down a quarry’s steep “steps”, where regenerative braking recharges the massive, 4,5-ton battery pack with more electricity than it uses to go back up those 13% inclines.

Chinese manufacturer Shenzen Westart produced the 4,5-ton battery pack, comprising 1 440 nickel manganese cobalt cells, and Swiss company Esoro the battery management system.

Swiss company Empa has extensively tested the battery pack by overcharging it on test rig and hammering a steel nail into a few cells — all accidents that can happen at the cement quarry.

Vigier said it paid the substantial price for the prototype, since it will not need any diesel fuel over its planned 10-year life cycle and the company will not have to pay any CO2 compensation.

The quarry miner plans to convert eight more giant trucks to run purely electrically. A 590 kW synchronous electric motor, equivalent to 800 horsepower, sends up to 9 500 Nm to the axles.

The motor gets its power at currents of up to 3 000 amperes from a 600 kWh Lithium-Ion battery pack, making the dump truck the world’s largest electric vehicle with largest battery yet installed.

Ciments Vigier said in a statement the eDumper will save the company up to 100 000 litres in diesel during operation and the atmosphere up to 262 metric tons in CO2.

When the 45-ton truck takes its 65-ton payload down the steps its motor acts as a giant alternator to generate 40 kW per hour per on each down run, which is 10 kWh more than the empty tipper uses going back up the hill, 20 times a day.

Instead of tons of toxic diesel gas, this truck thus makes electricity that goes back into Ciments Vigier’s grid.

The Swiss Federal Office of Energy is making a financial contribution to the non-amortisable additional costs for the development and testing of this prototype and has made it a condition that the know-how acquired in the course of this project benefits the Swiss research and industrial community.

Kuhn Schweiz said this opens up new fields for large-scale construction machines, such as tunnel borers or trucks in residential areas that are sensitive to exhaust gas and noise.
- Alwyn Viljoen.

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