Construction and mining equipment manufacturing giant has completed the ready to go prototype of its large battery-electric 793 mining truck. This e-truck prototype was built at Caterpillar’s Tucson Proving Ground in Green Valley, Arizona. The development of the truck has been carried out with support from key mining customers participating in Caterpillar’s Early Learner program. The Early Learner Program was launched back in 2021 aiming to validate the battery electric trucks and accelerate their development. The participants of this program with definitive electrification agreements are BHP, Freeport-McMoRan, Greenwood Village, Rio Tinto, and Teck Resources Ltd. Following the programme, Caterpillar supports the individual commitments each Early Learner participant has made to reduce and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from their operations.
The 793 Dump truck was tested in a variety of circumstances, including a 10% incline over one kilometre at 12 km/h, as well as a downward slope to demonstrate recuperation. The 793 could still reach a top speed of 60 km/h with a load up to the nominal capacity. Although Caterpillar has not revealed the exact technical data the nearest 793 F model with an 85-litre combustion engine has a rated payload of 231 tons.
However, this electric 793 is not Caterpillar’s first heavy-duty dump truck with an electric drive. Caterpillar has signed an agreement with Mining group BHP to electrify BHP’s entire truck fleet at the Escondida copper mine in Chile. The first Caterpillar 798 AC electric dump trucks are to be expected to be delivered in the second half of 2023.
The agreement is part of the strategic equipment renewal process developed by Escondida. BHP’s fleet currently consists of more than 160 dump trucks, and over the next decade, Caterpillar has planned to replace them with electric vehicles.
Also involved in the venture is Finning International, which is based in Vancouver, Canada and sells and services Caterpillar products. The company’s integrated knowledge center in the Chilean region of Antofagasta, for example, is to provide technical support for the fleet.
Apart from Caterpillar, BHP has recently ordered eleven electric vehicles from Sandvik for its Jansen potash mine in Canada. BHP is also reportedly a founding member of the Komatsu Greenhouse Gas Alliance to develop electric mining equipment. Like Caterpillar, BHP is also aiming to achieve a company-wide target to reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions that lie under Scope 1 & 2 by at least 30% by FY2030 (relative to 2020 levels). the net zero GHG emissions by 2050 and in the long-term BHP aims to achieve Longer-term, net-zero operational emissions by 2050.
Although the mining sector lags in the electrification of heavy equipment with time more companies such as BHP, Freeport-McMoRan, Greenwood Village, Rio Tinto, and Teck Resources Ltd are also focusing on electrifying their mining equipment and are investing in efficiency investing in the R&D and development of these equipment to achieve their GHG emission targets.
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