Teck Resources Ltd and MEDATech have officially announced the pilot of a fully electric on-highway transport truck to haul copper concentrate, marking the first use of a battery-electric truck to haul copper concentrate worldwide. The truck will travel between Teck’s Highland Valley Copper Operations (HVC) in south-central British Columbia (BC) and a rail loading facility in Ashcroft, BC.
This pilot of the MEDATech ALTDRIVE-powered fifth-wheel Western Star will help to advance Teck’s goal of displacing the equivalent of 1,000 internal combustion (ICE) vehicles by 2025. It will also provide valuable learnings for the electrification of Teck’s vehicle fleet on the path to achieving the company’s goal of reducing the carbon intensity of its operations by 33% by 2030 and becoming a carbon-neutral operator by 2050.
“Testing and implementing new electric vehicle technologies is one way we are taking concrete steps towards achieving our goal of being carbon neutral across our operations,” said Don Lindsay, President and CEO, Teck. “Teck is already one of the world’s lowest carbon-intensity producers of copper, zinc and steelmaking coal, which are key materials to enable the low-carbon transition, and we are committed to further reducing the carbon intensity of our operations to support a cleaner future.”
The pilot is expected to begin in summer 2022 and is projected to eliminate 418 t of CO2 annually – the equivalent of approximately 90 passenger cars – for the first pilot vehicle, while also reducing costs through fuel savings and reduced maintenance.
“The fully-electric ALTDRIVE system is designed for this haul cycle at HVC requiring a vehicle that weighs 65,000 kg loaded, 25,000 kg unloaded, and completes the same four to five 95-kilometre roundtrips every workday,” says Robert Rennie, President, MEDATech. “Since the truck batteries will charge on the downhill haul through regenerative braking, the rig will require only a short battery recharge at the Ashcroft, BC rail terminal so the haul cycle time is expected to be the same as a conventional truck.”
The battery-electric drive system is expected to work more efficiently than a comparable diesel engine, outputting a constant 620kW (approximately 830 horsepower) and is configured to continuously output almost double the amount of torque. This pilot project builds on Teck’s GHG reduction initiatives, including the recently announced agreement to work towards deploying 30 of Caterpillar’s zero-emissions large haul trucks at its steelmaking coal operations in the Elk Valley.