Tag Archives: electric light underground vehicles

Huber Automotive improves productivity and safety of battery-electric utility vehicle

Huber Automotive AG has presented an optimised version of its RUN-E Electric Cruiser, an emission-free power package designed for mining applications.

Like the original version, the RUN-E Electric Cruiser is designed for use in extreme environments, but the electrified version of the Toyota Land Cruiser J7 ensures improved air quality, reduced noise pollution and operating cost savings underground, according to the company.

This new, optimised version of the Electric Cruiser follows several deployments in the underground mining field. According to Mathias Koch, Key Account Manager for Huber Automotive’s Hybrid & E-Drive division, units have been on duty since mid-2016 in German salt mines. The company has also sent vehicles to Chile, Canada, South Africa and Australia. Meanwhile, units to be delivered in the March quarter to Germany, Ireland and Canada are likely to benefit from the latest updates.

The E-drive system on the new version consists of series components from suppliers such as Bosch, all of which are arranged in a new architecture to integrate the “individual characteristic strengths”, Huber said.

This is made possible by the core of the system: “an innovative control unit from Huber Automotive AG, which, based on a 32-bit power architecture, causes the individual components to perform at their best under ideal thermal conditions”, it said.

The central vehicle control system of the automotive supplier integrates all system-relevant components, regulates the energy management of the high- and low-voltage system and coordinates brake energy recovery depending on the driving situation as well as the charging and safety management conditions.

“Moreover, it monitors all control and regulation processes with regard to functional safety,” the company said.

The latest update to the E-Drive Kit uses a new battery with a capacity of 35 kWh and high recuperation capability, specially developed for heavy-duty use. The additional customising for mine operations ensures the certified and homologated battery is safe and robust, Huber says.

“Crash tested, waterproof and housed in a fireproof case, the new battery has extensive sensor technology, including CO2 and humidity sensors,” it added. “As a control level, it supports an intelligent thermal runway warning and protection system to provide the best possible safety – especially underground.”

This system operates at both module and cell level, including partial automatic shutdown, to guarantee early warning in the event of irregularities and to prevent self-ignition and total failure in case of small short circuits, Huber explains. The powerful battery not only operates safely but also efficiently and guarantees a range of up to 150 km on-road and 80-100 km off-road.

The RUN-E Electric Cruiser has an output of 90 kW with a maximum torque of 1,410 Nm. Speeds of up to 130 km/h are possible on-road, and up to 35 km/h in off-road terrain with a 15% gradient. In its standard version, it can handle gradients up to 45%, and, with the “high-off-road” option, it achieves the theoretical value of 95%, Huber says. Additional packages, such as battery cooling or heating, and an air conditioning system, allow the electric car to be adapted to the individual conditions of each mine.

Electric underground light vehicles coming to Kambalda, Mincor’s Southam says

Mincor Resources’ David Southam said the restart of the company’s Kambalda nickel mine in Western Australia will act as a “global showcase” for all-electric underground light vehicles when it opens in the next few years.

Southam, the company’s Managing Director, made such a statement at the Paydirt 2019 Australian Nickel Conference in Perth, Western Australia, this week.

The company is currently running a definitive feasibility study (DFS) at the project, at the same time as completing drilling to add resources to the property. First site works could occur in the March quarter, according to Southam.

So far, Mincor has built up a 4.7 Mt resource base grading 3.7% Ni for 175,300 t of contained nickel. The company hopes to deliver initial throughput of between 400,000-600,000 t/y of ore over an initial four-to-five-year period, which it will sell to BHP’s nearby Kambalda operations as part of an offtake agreement with the major miner.

Southam said the company’s decision to restart underground nickel mining operations using new light electric vehicles such as Safescape’s Bortana EV (with system integration from 3ME Technology and Agrale) would reduce ventilation costs and diesel particulate counts.

The Bortana EV, specifically, has had a prototype undergo local mine site testing in Newcastle, New South Wales, before an extended trial with Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville mine in Victoria.

Southam also said the company had a longer-term aim to transition larger mining vehicles to electric once infrastructure was established.

“This mine restart will be a global showcase for this new and more environmentally-friendly mining technology,” he said.