BHP has a new ute in its Olympic Dam fleet, so let’s do what blokes do and gather round to check out the donk:
Yep, the new 4×4 Land Cruiser is a bit different from the 240 vehicles it will join underground at Roxby Downs. It’s powered by a lithium ion battery.
That means just days after Elon Musk asked Tesla fans what they’d like to see in such a vehicle, BHP already has one on the road. More importantly, it’s a beast:
Whereas you probably wouldn’t want to get the keys to this chucked to you by the boss, no matter how much Musk promises the Tesla pickup “will not be some dainty little buttercup”:
In a Facebook post, BHP says the 70 Series Cruiser EV is “part of a company-wide trial aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, exposure to diesel particulate, and costs across our global organisation”.
It will be “monitored for performance, power supply, maintenance requirements, charging time and corrosion resistance underground”.
“The data we collect will be shared across BHP to help accelerate the broader deployment of electric light vehicles,” BHP says.
The V8 ute was adapted for BHP by Adelaide-based Voltra. Here’s the “e-Cruiser” during testing at the Te Rere Hau wind farm in New Zealand:
Voltra says there are a lot of good reasons for mining plants to reduce their reliance on diesel in favour of battery power, namely, reducing the underground buildup of heat associated with internal combustion engines, and reducing the security required when handling flammable fuels on site.
It claims a total switch to EVs for a mining fleet “may reduce total energy costs by 10-20% compared with the cost of diesel fuel”.
Voltra says it is already working on adapting a second EV for the BHP fleet.