Up to 45 tons of weight (empty) and a battery system with a storage capacity that would be needed for up to eight Tesla Model S. It is the letter of introduction of the one who, if nothing new in the market gets in the way, will become the largest electric vehicle in the world; a dumper-type truck that, once it starts rolling, as an e-dumper, will produce more energy than it consumes.
A consortium of Swiss companies is currently working on this electric mobility giant with the support of the Laboratory of Materials Sciences and Technology (EMPA) of that country. To give shape to this electric dumper, we started with the reuse of a Komatsu that is being disassembled and rebuilt. For now, the experts involved in this project have already removed the diesel engine and are now opening a gap around the chassis to place the battery pack that will power this model from now on.
And the space will not be small. With a capacity to store up to 700 kWh, the batteries will weigh neither more nor less than 4.5 tons. “Never to date a land vehicle has been equipped with a battery pack so much size” , say from the EMPA, which explains why this is made up of 1,440 cells NMC (nickel, manganese and cobalt).
In supervising the system produced by the Chinese Shenzen Westart, the Swiss laboratory expert Marcel Held is used, who seeks guarantees to minimize any type of risk for this equipment, so that a fire or excess heat does not cause a chain reaction on the whole system.
Every detail is key, because the future foreseen for this Komatsu HD 605-7 once it is converted to electric will not be easy. Over a decade, it is expected to make up to 20 trips a day transporting materials from a quarry on Chasseral Mountain to the outskirts of the city of Biel. To do this, you will have to overcome a slope of up to 13%.
To cover these routes, the e-dumper starts with a fundamental advantage: on descending routes, the electric motor will function as a generator to recharge the batteries. On the ascent, with the vehicle empty, it will pull the generated energy to cover that distance. In fact, if all goes as expected, this macrocar will produce more energy than it consumes. Thus, not only will it do without fossil fuels, but it will also be able to contribute surpluses to the network.
Specifically, this truck with a 65-ton load capacity is expected to recharge up to 40 kWh in a single descent. If, in the end, the cargo vehicle works as planned, the powerful investment made by Ciments Vigier SA, which reaches seven digits in Swiss francs, will not only have paid off, but will also go further. In the plans of the company, which has in this project, in addition to EPSA, with the participation of Lithium Storage GmbH and the Kuhn group, the possibility that this e-dumper is accompanied by up to seven other heavy electric vehicles like him . The bet would also prove that the advantages of electric mobility are possible to apply to machinery of this caliber, directly responsible for a large amount of emissions into the atmosphere.