The leading construction and mining equipment manufacturer, Caterpillar (CAT), is plowing ahead with plans to advance sustainable mining. Caterpillar successfully tested its first battery electric 793 large mining truck.
Caterpillar held a demonstration yesterday showcasing the abilities of its massive 793 electric mining truck while announcing a “significant investment” to convert its Tuscan, Arizona, proving grounds into a sustainable testing and demo site for future electric products.
According to Caterpillar, the demonstration was made possible through crucial mining customers participating in its Early Learners Program, such as BHP, Freeport-McMoRan, Newmont, and Rio Tinto.
Group president of Caterpillar, Denise Johnson, explained the significance of its new large electric mining truck for customers, stating:
Caterpillar initially created the program in 2021 with a focus on advancing the development of battery electric trucks for sustainable mining operations while offering mining customers an opportunity to test and validate them.Our global team came together to develop this battery truck at an accelerated pace to help our customers meet their sustainability commitments. 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.
Caterpillar’s EV mining truck demonstration results
During the demo, Caterpillar’s large 793 electric mining truck plowed through a 4.3-mile (7 km) course. With the EV truck fully loaded to its rated capacity, it achieved a top speed of 37.3 mph (60 km/h) and traveled 0.62 miles (1 km) up a 10% grade at 7.5 mph.
In addition, the large Caterpillar EV mining truck completed a 0.62-mile (1 km) test on a 10% downhill grade. Perhaps, most importantly, the e-mining truck was able to capture the energy normally lost to heat, redirecting the energy back to the battery.
After the demo was completed, Caterpillar said the 793 truck had enough energy left to perform more tasks if needed.
To advance the progress, Caterpillar says its working to transform its Tucson, Arizona, proving ground into a functional “sustainable mine site of the future” by utilizing several renewable energy sources.
As Caterpillar implements full battery electric technology into its equipment, the company says it will use clean energy sources like solar, wind, and hydrogen that will be capable of powering its facility and products.The transformation of the Tucson Proving Ground 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.
You can watch Caterpillar’s demonstration here on YouTube.
Although Caterpillar has been utilizing electric drive for several years now (at least 2008) due to its high low-end torque, superior control, and reliability, the company is now swapping its diesel engine for a battery to further reduce emissions.
Electric drive has been used in heavy-duty equipment for some time because of these reasons. However, as battery tech advances, you can expect to see more fully electric options being used in construction, mining, etc.