Caterpillar demonstrates battery-electric large mining truck, invests in sustainable proving ground

Caterpillar has completed a successful demonstration of its first battery-electric 793 model mining truck. 

Caterpillar developed its battery-electric prototype with support from mining customers participating in its Early Learner program, which was established in 2021 with the aim of accelerating the development and validation of Caterpillar’s battery-electric trucks at participating customers’ sites. Participants with definitive electrification agreements include BHP, Freeport-McMoRan, Newmont, Rio Tinto and Teck Resources.

Early Learner customers witnessed a live demonstration of Caterpillar’s prototype truck on a 4.3-mile course. To validate simulation and engineering modeling capabilities, Caterpillar monitored more than 1,100 data channels, gathering 110,000 data points per second. Fully loaded to its rated capacity, the truck achieved a top speed of 37.3 mph. The loaded truck traveled 0.62 miles up a 10% grade at 7.5 mph. It also performed a 0.62-mile run on a 10% downhill grade, capturing the energy that would normally be lost to heat and passing it to the battery. Upon completion of the run, the truck retained enough battery energy to perform additional complete cycles. 

The prototype truck was built at Caterpillar’s Tucson Proving Ground in Green Valley, Arizona. Caterpillar intends to transform the proving ground into a working, sustainable “mine site of the future” by installing and using renewable energy sources including wind and solar, along with energy storage systems. It will also test advances in fossil fuel technology, including “green hydrogen” production, methane gas, hydrogen reciprocating engines and fuel cells. The idea is to implement the same new technologies mining companies will use at their own operations to learn firsthand what it takes to run an electrified mine site and effectively support customers through the changes. 

“The transformation of the Tucson Proving Ground,” said Resource Industries Group President Denise Johnson, “allows Caterpillar to demonstrate our energy transition commitments and serve as a stronger advisor to customers as we navigate the changes together. We know it will take an integrated, site-level solution for miners to achieve their carbon-reduction goals, and we’re here to help as they redefine the way they mine for generations to come.” 

Source: Caterpillar

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