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'e-dumper' proves that electric concept works for heavy-load vehicles

Image credit: Dreamstime

As a gigantic electric dumping truck is crowned the world's largest electric vehicle, it provides pundits with further proof that battery vehicles do have their place within the heavy-load sector.

Experts are still debating whether the concept of battery-powered vehicles and heavy-load vehicles can go hand in hand. The main obstacle is that heavy vehicles require heavy batteries. Battery-production costs are still high and the larger the vehicle, the larger the battery. However, the latest presentation of the 'Elektro Dumper' serves as an example that electric heavy-load vehicles do have their place.   

Weighing in at 111 tonnes and measuring 10m long and 4m wide and tall, the Elektro Dumper is an all-electric giant. It is powered by a 4.4-tonne battery and has a capacity of 600kWh. 

Fully loaded, the Komatsu 'e-dumper' by Kuhn Schweiz AG is said to be able to transport 60 tonnes of lime and marl from a high-elevation extraction area to a permanently installed transport system. The advantages, according to the company, include a saving of around 50,000 litres of diesel per year, which expressed in carbon emissions equals around 130 tonnes of CO2 per year being removed from the owner's carbon balance. 

At 50 tonnes and 700 kilowatt-hours, a previous Komatsu e-dumper model was given the title of the biggest EV in the world in 2017. 

Supporters of electric heavy-load vehicles argue that as governments around the world set ambitious plans to ban the sale of petrol- and diesel-only cars, the introduction of electric-powered utility vehicles is essential in decarbonising transport systems.

Tesla was reported to own a stake in the game of heavy-goods electric vehicles. Previously, the company claimed its Semi will be able to travel 500 miles on a single charge – enough to get you from London to Edinburgh – as well as tow 40 tonnes of cargo.

Other companies also chasing the idea of electric trucks, including Thor Trucks, Daimler and Volkswagen, have announced ambitious 2019 production plans.

In March of this year, two Volvo Electric buses were cleared for undergoing road trials in Singapore, ahead of an anticipated release onto public roads

Within the agricultural sector, manufacturers of heavy EVs are also making inroads. In 2016, John Deere, the American manufacturer of agricultural, construction, and forestry machinery, unveiled plans for a fully electric tractor series.

In a special report on electric vehicles by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee late last year, recommendations were given to the UK government to set firm targets "for [the] deployment of ultra-low-emission commercial vehicles, provide support to expedite uptake amongst hub-based operations, and support the development of low-carbon solutions for heavy, long-distance vehicles”.

New greener technological concepts are increasingly considering heavy-load vehicles. Solar roads – such as in the case of Tokyo's endeavour to adopt them for its 2020 Olympics – allow for the use of transparent resin for durability which ensures that heavy loads can traverse them without causing any damage.

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