BHP to Trial Zero-Emission Voltra eCruiser

BHP have announced their commitment to trialling the eCruiser at their Olympic Dam mine site in South Australia. This is a major milestone in the Voltra project, with the 100% electric-drive LandCruiser 79 Series to be put through its paces in full underground fleet operation over a 12 month trial period.

At Olympic Dam, where copper, uranium, gold and silver is extracted, the vehicle’s performance, maintenance requirements, charging time and corrosion resistance will be monitored and analyzed. We are confident that BHP’s team will prove the benefits of zero harmful emissions underground, as well as increased fleet availability and a saving on maintenance and operational costs.

The vehicle that BHP will be trialling is the second fully operational eCruiser. The conversion kit supplied by Zero Emission Vehicles Limited (ZEV) was fitted by Autoline Sales to a brand new 79 Series in January 2018. It took just 3 weeks to transform the fuel-guzzling V8 into an efficient EV, complete with fully-sealed lithium-ion batteries, a custom gearbox and electric motor – all while retaining 4-wheel-drive capabilities. In the following months, small tweaks and refinements were made to the auxiliary items and onboard software. The vehicle was fitted out with all mine spec equipment, including radios, a custom tray, lights, occupant protection, fail-safe brakes, and other safety measures. Voltra also produced user manuals and operational guidelines to ensure that any light vehicle operator is able to easily identify the aspects that differ from a diesel vehicle, and safeguard against faults.

Back in November 2017, BHP outlined their intention to trial electric vehicles at Olympic Dam, with the end goal of reducing worker exposure to diesel particulate matter by 50%. The Voltra eCruiser represents the first important step towards this lofty ambition.

Source: Autoline Sales, Voltra, Zero Emission Vehicles Limited

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