• Caterpillar introduces an electric version of its massive 793 truck, currently in testing.
• This quintessential mining tool is a perfect candidate for electrification, since its trips are generally short.
• No details were shared on the vehicle's specifications.
It's often mentioned how heavily involved virtually all automakers are in electrification. We shouldn't forget about all the manufacturers of other types of machinery. Many of them are also looking for greener solutions for the planet.
Caterpillar, for example, is testing an electric version of its massive 793. This truck, used mainly in the mining sector and on large-scale construction sites, is the ideal candidate for battery operation, as it is never called upon to cover large distances in the course of a single day.
With this in mind, the company surveyed its customers so that it could develop a battery-powered version of the truck that would meet their needs. The company did not disclose what its customers' requests were. However, it did put on a demonstration of its work in progress at its facility in Arizona.
The first test of the electric 793 took place on a 6.9-km route. The company explained that its engineers collected 110,000 data per second by monitoring more than 1,100 sensors during the event. On a full charge, the truck reached a top speed of 60 km/h, was able to climb a 10-percent incline at a speed of 12 km/h, and did so for about a kilometer. It then put its brake energy recovery system to the test on the way down.
Incredibly, these data are roughly equivalent to those obtained by the 793F, which is equipped with a 16-cylinder, 85-litre diesel engine, a mechanical monster that offers about 2,500 hp.
Caterpillar says there was enough energy left over after its test to run more test cycles. Beyond that, though, the firm did not provide any significant details about the size of the battery pack, the truck's total range or even the recharge time. These are of course important data, but we can guess that Caterpillar’s EV is still at the experimental stage and the company prefers not to announce anything for the moment.
There’s little doubt we’ll eventually see electric 793s on job sites. It’s believed companies are already lining up to buy them. It's easy to imagine the long-term savings.