Miller Technology has announced the sale and delivery of the first BEV Relays to BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s Broadmeadow operation in Queensland, Australia.
This battery-powered light duty vehicle (LDV) is capable of completing its bulk charge in less than 20 minutes, providing enough range to complete a typical mining shift of 10 hours, according to Miller. The regenerative braking capability, meanwhile, can add up to two hours in a mine with optimised topology.
This run time and fast charging is made possible by an advanced battery management system (BMS), which monitors battery temperature, with its enclosed refrigeration temperature monitoring system keeping the temperature within the optimal narrow temperature range. The BMS responds instantly to varied demands, while charging and in use, helping the Relay to provide 10 years of battery life, according to Miller.
James Palmer, BMA President, said: “The new electric transporters are a major step towards safer and more sustainable underground workings. This is another positive step in our journey to achieve zero emissions by the year 2050.”
Darren Wood, Project Manager BMA, added: “Diesel machines create a real hazard in an underground mine and we’ve been on a journey over the past four years to reduce these diesel particulate matter emissions in the ventilation system. We’re thrilled to have found the perfect solution in these battery-electric vehicles, which will be used by our maintenance personnel to travel in ‘negligible-explosion risk zones’ throughout the underground mine.
“Hopefully, within the next two years, we will have electric vehicle options available that can enter all areas of our underground coal mines. We couldn’t be more excited to be at the forefront of these new global initiatives.”
Miller’s BEV Relays are not yet certified as ‘Explosion/Flame Proof’ in Australia, but IM understands the company is working on achieving this certification in around the next 18 months. The electric LDV has previously had a trial run at Alamos Gold’s Young-Davidson mine in Ontario, Canada.
Miller Technology said: “Unlike traditional battery-electric vehicle mining LDVs, which are modifications of donor vehicles, typically Toyota’s Land Cruiser, the ground-up design of the Relay BEV has meant ‘everything that is mining’ has been incorporated into every aspect of the design and production.”
The Canada-based company says it has invested over a decade of research and development into the Relay BEV, focusing on serviceability and modularity, with a rugged design and construction. The Relay BEV was designed completely in-house by Miller Technology and uses an RESS (Rechargeable Energy Storage System). The system is rated for a maximum continuous 3C charging rate and maximum continuous discharge rate of 5C.
“Utilising the CCS (Combined Charging Strategy) protocol via Combo-2 connection and NMC-G cells (nickel manganese cobalt cathode and graphite anode) offers charging with the most convenient and most widely adopted chargers worldwide,” the company said.
Power is directed to a mid-mounted motor with dual drive output shafts providing 150 kW (peak) to both front and rear differentials. With a drive shaft exiting each end of the electric motor, the 4×4 system minimises moving parts and negates the need for a transfer case, capitalising on drivetrain reliability and power efficiencies, according to the company.
The dual-cab configuration can accommodate four mining-equipped, work-ready adults comfortably and can carry a 2 t payload. Around 1,550 Nm of torque is available from the motor, with the ability to offer the same drivetrain in the Miller Technology BEV Underground Grader.
A ROPS/FOPS Level 2 structure is integrated into the cabin structure, while telemetry diagnostics are data logged on board and transmitted to a control room through Wi-Fi or LTE networks. The data transfer is bi-directional, enabling on-board software to be updated remotely from a control room or mobile tablet.
Paul Summers, Lead BEV Engineer, Miller Technology, said: “The technology in the Relay creates a game-changing vehicle. The unique BMS battery management system and cooling/temperature monitoring process offers a vehicle at the top of its game that is environmentally friendly and the safest, most efficient vehicle of its kind available today.”