BHP announces agreement with Caterpillar on battery powered zero-emissions mining trucks

Caterpillar announces successful test of its Massive electric mining truck

Caterpillar, an heavy machinery manufacturing segment company, announced that it successfully completed testing its new electric mining truck. It is called the Cat 793 AC Electric Drive. The company shared a video showing the vehicle being tested at a mine in Arizona. It is an important milestone for the company to reduce emissions and move towards sustainability for its products.

BHP announces agreement with Caterpillar on battery powered  zero-emissions mining trucks
Image credits- Carterpillar

The new electric mining truck is known to have the capacity to haul loads of up to 360 tons. It uses a lithium-ion battery, but the specifications of the batteries are not revealed yet. It is said that the vehicle can operate for eight hours with one charge. As stated by Caterpillar, the vehicle can be fully charged in one charge, indicating that its downtime will be relatively low.

In 2021 it was announced that 793 AC Electric Drive is part of Caterpillar’s broader efforts to develop electric powertrain technology for its mining vehicles. In addition to reducing emissions, the company believes that electric trucks will be more cost-effective to operate in the long run, as they require less maintenance and have lower fuel costs.

The test

The demonstration in the video took place over a 4.3-mile (7-kilometer) course in an Arizona mine where the vehicle reached a top speed of 37.3 mph (60 km/h), it was able to climb a 10 percent grade while maintaining 7.5 mph (12 km/h) and it also recovered energy when going down a similarly steep slope. These figures put it about on par with the diesel-burning 793, which has an 85-liter 16-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine that makes up 2,500 horsepower.

Caterpillar says it is on a path of sustainability, with the company investing heavily in research and development to improve the efficiency of its combustion engines and reduce the environmental impact of its operations. It currently offers diesel, hybrid, and fully-electric vehicles for various industrial roles and it plans to shift more and more toward full BEV solutions. “Our global team came together to develop this battery truck at an accelerated pace to help our customers meet their sustainability commitments,” said Resource Industries Group President Denise Johnson. “This demonstration is a significant milestone, and we are excited for these trucks to get to work at customers’ sites around the world in the near future.”

The learner program focuses on accelerating the development and validation of Caterpillar’s battery electric trucks at participating customers’ sites. This approach supports the individual commitments each Early Learner participant has made to reduce and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from their operations. A primary objective of the program is for Caterpillar to collaborate more closely with its customers as the industry undergoes transformational change through the energy transition.