February 9, 2024 - Works with ABB to develop prototype that seldom needs a recharge due to innovative trolly assist and regenerative braking system.
Heavy equipment staple Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. and electrification and automation leader ABB Ltd. have reached a milestone in their collaboration to develop a battery-powered electric mining haul truck that never needs to break for a recharge.
Under development since 2021, with the goal of meeting the growing demand for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Hitachi sought to utilize ABB's innovative battery technology and highly energy-efficient DC/DC converters to transform its lineup of diesel-powered heavy trucks into battery-powered, zero-emission workhorses.
A 3D rendering of the Hitachi electric haul truck prototype that was shipped to the Kansanshi copper-gold mine in Zambia.
"We are delighted to see our collaboration with Hitachi Construction Machinery reaching this crucial step," said Head of Mobile e-Power at ABB Traction Fabiana Cavalcante. "The project is not only helping to tackle the issues involved in dump truck electrification but is also contributing to enabling a low-carbon world through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions."
In addition to its completely battery-powered motor, the newest prototype – which was modeled around converting its existing fleet of 2,500 horsepower EH4000 244-ton diesel mining trucks – was designed to utilize as many means as possible to keep it running as long as possible.
While driving on leveled ground will engage full use of the internal battery, the Hitachi mining haul truck was also installed with an onboard electric system that can draw energy from a trolley supply to power itself and take the load off the battery as it travels uphill, as well as with an innovative regenerative braking system as it travels downhill.
Although trolley systems are gaining traction in low-carbon mines to assist both battery and conventional diesel haul trucks powered as they make the energy-intensive climb out of mining pits, electric heavy haulers now have the opportunity to boost the battery on the descent back into the pit.
With systems in place to supplement the draw needed to haul nearly 250 tons or over half a million pounds of material, this new prototype is capable of continuous operation with no charging breaks, allowing it to maintain productivity, while its sophisticated battery energy and thermal management system maximizes the battery's service life.
The first battery-powered Hitachi haul truck prototype, which has already undergone initial in-factory testing, was shipped to the Kansanshi copper-gold mine in Zambia for demonstration and final testing around midyear.
"We look forward to seeing the prototype prove its capability in the Zambian copper-gold mine," said Cavalcante.