Electric Vehicle Systems and Technology says it has developed a breakthrough technology with its patented ultra-low voltage (ULV) electric drive system that can drive light and heavy mobile mining equipment.
At voltages as low as 3 V, the equivalent power of an internal combustion engine can be electrically generated to drive machinery, it said.
The company has installed its drive system in a Toyota Landcruiser and was showcasing its technology at the International Mining and Resources Conference in Melbourne, Australia, this week.
EVS&T Spokesman, Michael Byford, said the safety implications alone of its patented Ultra Low Voltage electric drive system were enormous.
“It removes the electrocution hazard for operators, maintenance personnel and emergency crews in the event of an accident,” Byford said. “The need for training personnel to work with high voltage can be removed.”
Electric drive systems have the potential to reduce ventilation costs, eliminate health concerns over diesel particulate matter, allow deeper or more productive mines and add a great advantage to a mine’s social licence to operate.
Machinery total cost of ownership will also decrease because of less maintenance required by electric drive systems and the reduced running costs achieved by using electricity over fossil fuels, EVS&T says. Such reductions should also favourably impacts a mine’s operating costs.
EVS&T’s ultra-low voltage solution eliminates the need for high voltages in the region of 340 to 1,000 V, which are presently the only way to power electric mining machinery, the company says.
“These voltages, which carry significant safety risks and require stringent guidelines and work practises, dedicated charging facilities, and properly trained operators and maintenance personnel, can be removed from the risk assessment on the machinery,” it said.
The other benefits of the ULV electric drive system, according to the company, include:
- Quick and efficient battery swap, even with the motor running;
- A motor which is battery agnostic, allowing the upgrade of batteries at any time and even the operation of mixed battery chemistries at the same time;
- Parallel battery configuration, which allows the vehicle to continue to drive even with one or more degraded battery units;
- Low voltage battery packs that are amenable to simple charging arrangements, even directly from solar cells;
- No software means no built-in obsolescence and no avenue for malicious hacking;
- No dedicated tooling required for maintenance and support; and
- Retrofitting to existing equipment is highly feasible, reducing capital expenditure and extending vehicle operating life.