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MEDATech and ABB partner on ultra-fast charge solution for underground/surface BEVs

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Global Mining Review,

With battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), the big worry is that duty cycles will not match the pace set by diesel vehicles. In other words, mine operators are concerned that heavy-workload electrified vehicles such as loaders and haul trucks will spend too much time charging to make them a viable alternative to diesel, given a mine’s punishing 24-hour work schedule.

A new prototype ultra-fast charging solution for heavy-duty applications changes all that. Automated charging delivers a massive 600 kW of power as a result of two highly-advanced components:

  • ABB AbilityTM eMine FastCharge, the world’s fastest and only fully-automated charging system for mining trucks, offering up to 600 kW of power.
  • MEDATech’s ALTDRIVE battery-electric powertrain solution, complete with fast-charging receiver.

ABB developed an integrated charging infrastructure, with the latest charger technology and a future-proof automated connection device, while MEDATech created a battery-electric powertrain that includes a charge-reception system that can be integrated into any heavy-duty vehicle. Together with MEDATech’s complete ALTDRIVE BEV system, ABB’s ultra-fast charging forms a complete EV package that helps original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) move away from diesel. Integrating ALTDRIVE into new vehicle builds will enable OEMs to fast-track their battery-electric offerings, complete with ultra-fast charging.

“Designed for the harshest environments, this flexible and fully-automated solution can easily be installed anywhere, and can charge any truck, without the need of human intervention,” said Mario Schmid, Project Lead Engineer from ABB. “All of this at the highest power available in today’s market to minimise the downtime of your mobile asset.”

The following video presents the ALTDRIVE system integrated into a Western Star 4900 XD-e, with fast-charging. ALTDRIVE systems can, however, be integrated into any kind of powered heavy-duty equipment as a complete OEM kit.

Charging occurs with no help from machine operators. Drivers station their vehicles next to the charger, and ABB Ability eMine FastCharge does the rest. When the system senses that a vehicle is near, it moves the connection pin into position and inserts it into the receptacle, carrying out charging in a fully-automated fashion.

The ALTDRIVE system that powers the Western Star 4900XD-e BEV provides 2900 available lbs-ft of torque, resulting in much better acceleration and faster climbing power than a comparable diesel truck, with no emissions. Those kinds of values are what the industry is seeing with all equipment that includes MEDATech’s ALTDRIVE system, from haulers to loaders and more: faster work cycles, zero emissions.

Emissions reduction is not only good for miners’ health and safety. It also represents a reduction in the amount of ventilation required to ensure clean air underground. Since ventilation costs can account for a significant amount of a mine’s energy usage, this represents a further, important reduction in a mine’s carbon footprint. Miners are also now taking advantage of government tax incentives to reduce their carbon dioxide footprints and moving away from combustion-powered equipment, as mandated in certain jurisdictions.

Operational decisions need to be based on fact, which is why MEDATech has developed electric vehicle fleet-optimisation software. EV-FOS optimises BEV energy usage for new and existing mines. It is as useful for mine development as it is for production, clearly showing the effectiveness of BEVs compared to diesel in all mines, as well as optimal BEV type, battery size and charging infrastructure. Miners can get dollars per tonne by the level, by the year, for fast charging, for battery swapping, and for diesel – for all mining operations.

“EV-FOS is very precise,” commented MEDATech President, Rob Rennie. “The alternative to using our software is attempting to develop your own calculations, or guessing. With millions or tens of millions of dollars hanging in the balance, it makes sense to invest in something that yields accurate forecasts.”

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