Caterpillar demonstrates the first large battery electric mining truck

Irving, Texas-based Caterpillar Inc. announced a successful demonstration of its first battery-electric 793 large mining truck, as well as a significant investment to transform its Tucson, Arizona proving ground into a sustainable test and validation center.

Caterpillar says it completed development of the 793 prototype with support from key mining customers participating in the company’s Early Learner program. Program participants with final electrification agreements include BHP, Melbourne, Australia; Freeport-McMoRan, Phoenix; Newmont Corp., Greenwood Village, Colorado; Rio Tinto, London; and Teck Resources Ltd., Vancouver.

“Our global team came together to accelerate the development of this battery truck to help our customers meet their sustainability commitments,” said Denise Johnson, president of the Caterpillar Resource Industries Group. “This demonstration is an important milestone and we are excited to see these trucks at customers around the world in the near future.”

Caterpillar says its Early Learner program, launched in 2021, focuses on accelerating the development and validation of its battery electric trucks at participating customer sites, and that its approach supports the individual commitments each Early Learner makes. participant has done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their operations. The company says a primary objective of the program is to work more closely with its customers as the industry undergoes major changes due to the energy transition.

Early Learner customers were on hand to witness a live demonstration of Caterpillar’s 793 truck on a 7.3 mile track. During the event, Caterpillar said it monitored more than 1,100 data channels and collected 110,000 data points per second to validate simulation and engineering modeling capabilities.

Caterpillar says the truck, fully loaded to capacity, reached a top speed of 60.3 mph, covered 0.62 miles on a 10 percent grade at 7.5 mph, and ran 0.62 miles on an incline of 10 percent, capturing the energy that would normally be lost to heat and regenerating that energy back to the battery. The company says that after driving, the truck had enough battery power to complete even more full cycles.

The company says the prototype truck was built at the Tucson Proving Ground, located in Green Valley, Arizona. Caterpillar is investing to make the site a working, sustainable “mine site of the future” by installing and using several renewable energy sources. It says the goal is to implement the same sustainable solutions that mining companies will use in their own operations to learn what it takes to run an electrified mining site and effectively support its customers through the changes.

“The transformation of the Tucson Proving Ground allows Caterpillar to demonstrate our energy transition commitments and serve as a stronger advisor to customers as we navigate the changes together,” said Johnson. “We know that miners need an integrated site-level solution to meet their carbon reduction goals, and we are here to help redefine the way they mine for generations to come.”

As part of the site’s transformation, Caterpillar says it will install sustainable technologies, such as green hydrogen production; natural gas and 100 percent hydrogen piston engine power generation; energy generation with fuel cells and; extensive energy storage systems. The site will also utilize a variety of renewable energy sources, including wind, solar and hydrogen, capable of powering the facility and its products as they become electrified.

The company says the facility will also serve as a learning platform for optimizing the integration of charging and power management.

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