Construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar has completed the development of the prototype of its first large battery-electric 793 dump truck. With a prototype ready to go, Caterpillar demonstrated the new model to customers on a seven-kilometre track.
These customers, who are participating in Caterpillar’s so-called ‘Early Learner’ programme, include BHP and Rio Tinto. The loaded dump truck drove through various scenarios, including a ten per cent incline over one kilometre at 12 km/h and also in the other direction as a downhill slope to demonstrate recuperation. With a load up to the nominal capacity, the 793 could still reach a top speed of 60 km/h.
Caterpillar does not give exact technical data on the electric 793 in the release. The related 793 F model with an 85-litre combustion engine has a rated payload of 231 tonnes. The driving performance (specifically the top speed and the speed on the ten per cent gradient) corresponds to the figures now achieved by the electric prototype.
The company also used the demonstration drive as another test drive: during the event, Caterpillar says it monitored over 1,100 data channels and collected 110,000 data points per second to validate simulation and engineering modelling functions.
The e-truck prototype was built at Caterpillar’s Tucson Proving Ground in Green Valley, Arizona. Caterpillar is also announcing investments to transform its Arizona proving ground into a sustainable test and validation centre of the future. The goal, it says, is to implement at the site the “same sustainable solutions that mining companies use in their own operations to learn first-hand what it takes to operate an electrified mining site.”
But the electric 793 is not the manufacturer’s first heavy-duty dump truck with electric drive: at the end of August, Caterpillar had signed an agreement with mining group BHP to electrify BHP’s entire fleet of trucks at the Escondida copper mine in Chile. The Caterpillar 798 AC, a different model to the one now being demonstrated, will be used. The 798 AC has a gross output of 2,610 kW and a rated payload of 372 tonnes.
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