EDumper, the world's biggest EV that almost never needs to be plugged in
Sometimes, a machine is so beautifully fit for purpose you can barely believe it hasn't been done before. A Swiss company has retro-fitted a giant dump truck with an all-electric powertrain to roll out the biggest EV the world has ever seen, with the biggest battery pack ever installed in a vehicle. And due to its unique work site, it actually generates the lion's share of its own power.
Heimberg's E-Mining, working with Empa, the Bern University of Applied Sciences and the NTB Interstaatlicke Hochschule fur Technik Buchs, took a giant Komatsu HD605-7, pulled out its 23-liter diesel motor, and replaced it with powerful electric motors and a monster 600-kWh battery pack. Dubbing it the EDumper, the team sent it out to work at a quarry in Pery, around 100 km (60 mi) from Zurich.
This quarry offers the EDumper the rare opportunity to generate almost as much electricity as it needs to operate. At the quarry site, the truck loads up with around 60 tons of rock, which it transports to an unloading point lower down the mountain. The 13-percent gradient of the road down, and the heavy load on its back, allow the Edumper to regeneratively charge its battery on the way down the hill, and the power generated is almost enough to take the empty truck back up to the quarry.
Contrary to some reporting, Der Spiegel says that the EDumper doesn't generate more electricity than it uses, or feed power back into the grid. Indeed, particularly in winter, when snow chains significantly reduce its fuel economy, its battery does still occasionally require a short stint on a charger. But over 10 years, it'll carry 300,000 tons of rock and save 1,300 tons of CO2 from getting into the atmosphere by preventing half a million liters (132,000 gal) of diesel from being burned – and that's a win for everyone.
The EDumper costs around 2.5 times what the diesel truck does, and its unique work situation can't be replicated at all mine sites. But it's a terrific solution for a specific problem, and you've just got to love that name. See it in action in the video below.