The biggest electric vehicle (EV) on the planet – a massive dumper truck – is also the most efficient.
Nicknamed eDumper, the Elektro Dumper works in a quarry in Biel, Switzerland at the foot of the Jura mountains in the north west of the country.
This Truckzilla of the EV world weighs in at 45 tons unladen and can shift up to 64 tons of marl and lime from the mountainside to the nearby cement factory – all without needing external energy sources.
The dumper truck achieves this through a regenerative braking system that stores electricity in a giant 600 kWh battery pack weighing 4 tons.
The eDumper makes the trek up the 13% gradient hill to collect the mined materials and the braking system used on the way back down captures more than enough energy to replace that used in the ascent.
It makes this journey up to 20 times a day, delivering around 1,300 tons of marl and lime with no energy cost as the battery pack made by Lithium Storage, which would easily power six long-range Tesla Model Ses luxury cars, holds and redelivers all the electricity needed.
In fact, the vehicle maker, Kuhn Schweitz, claims that the truck produces 200 kwh of surplus energy every day, or 77 megawatt-hours a year at the quarry.
The cement company running the eDumper, Ciments Vigier SA, recently worked with CNN to have Formula E driver Lucas DiGrassi test drive it. He reports reaching the top of the hill with 80% charge, then seeing the battery charge recover to 88% on the way back down.
Better electric motor
The eDumper is based on a Komatsu HB 605-7. It’s 30 feet long, 14 feet wide, and 14 feet tall. The tyres are six feet high, and the dump bed reaches to more than 28 feet, fully raised.
The original model sported a 739 hp from a 1413 in³ (23.2 liters) turbodiesel engine and now has a more effective 789 hp single synchronous electric motor delivering 7,007 lb-ft.
While the conventional dump truck used between 11,000 and 22,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year, the eDumper is saving up to 196 metric tons of CO2 a year with its self-sustaining operation.
The market for EVs continues to grow rapidly in the UK and across the globe as consumers make the move to carbon-free motoring, and over time also benefit from cheaper fuel sources.
While the EV car market growth is very impressive, it is expected that the commercial vehicle sectors will be slower to pick up, largely due to costs and the need for more effective batteries, holding greater charges.
EV bus fleet
However, there are early adopters showing what can be achieved in reducing fossil-fuel transport, so vastly improving air quality, and lowering carbon emissions. In Shenzhen, China, a huge city with 12 million people, all the 16,000 city buses run on batteries.
The EV bus fleet, manufactured by Chinese bus maker BYD, which is also producing EV trucks, is a harbinger of what we should expect in the coming decade in the UK and other parts of the world, as we move to Net Zero emissions targets.
And Tesla is expected to launch the EV Semi lorry next year, that should have a range of 500 miles on a single charge.
The pace will pick up with these innovations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that 80% of the world’s city bus fleet will be electric by 2040, compared to 33% of the world’s cars.
EV charging cables
Worldwide, more than 2 million EV were sold in 2018 and they expected to make up 57% of all sales by 2040. In the UK last year, almost 15,500 units were pure EVs, with the remaining almost 45,000 units PHEVs. Overall, there are around 193,000 electric cars on UK roads, excluding any vans, quadricycles and so on.