Think EVs can’t pull? This electric truck can haul 100 tons!

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Heavy equipment giant Caterpillar will work with aggregates producer CRH to put its 70- to 100-ton battery electric off-highway mining trucks to the test — marking the first time a truck like this has been evaluated by the aggregate industry.

In addition to ensuring that the next-generation electric trucks from Caterpillar can address safety, performance, operational, and compliance needs of CRH’s $20 billion aggregates business, the test will support CRH’s stated goal to remove greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 2050 by proving out the utility of more sustainable battery-electric equipment.

“At CRH, we recognize that collaboration and innovation are critical to delivering our industry-leading decarbonization targets and achieving our ambition of net-zero by 2050,” Scott Parson, CRH president said, in a statement. “Through this partnership with Caterpillar, we will advance the use of sustainable equipment in our operations and build on our shared commitment to a low-carbon future.”

For their part, Caterpillar executives also expressed excitement about the new collaboration. “When it comes to sustainability, the quarry and aggregates industry requires diverse solutions,” explains Denise Johnson, Caterpillar’s resource industries group president. “Our collaboration with CRH is an exciting opportunity to learn together and gain valuable insights into how our products can best support CRH’s long-term objectives to decarbonize its operations.”

Even bigger: Caterpillar 793 electric mining truck

Caterpillar first showed its all-electric 265-ton capacity 793 at its Arizona proving ground just over a year ago, and moved quickly to develop Cat MineStar Command autonomous hauling technology there. This past November, Freeport-McMoRan announced it would its existing fleet of 33 Cat 793 haul trucks to Cat’s MineStar Command — adding to Cat’s existing in-service fleet of 620 autonomous trucks operating with 15 customers on three continents.

At its debut, the all-electric Cat 793 was reported to have reached a top speed of nearly 40 mph, steadily driven up a 10% grade for one kilometer (0.62 miles) at a steady 7.5 mph, then used the 10% downhill return to recoup some battery power with regenerative braking.

Despite not giving out detailed specs, Caterpillar reps reported that the 793 still had enough charge in its batteries for to complete more testing cycles.

Electrek’s Take

Electric equipment and mining to together like peanut butter and jelly. In confined spaces, the carbon emissions and ear-splitting noise of conventional mining equipment can create dangerous circumstances for miners and operators, and that can lead to injury or long-term disability that’s just going to exacerbate a mining operation’s ability to keep people working and minerals coming out of the ground. By tapping an industry leader like CRH to verify that its equipment can do the job as well as well as — if not better than ICE — Caterpillar will go a long way towards converting the diesel cycle faithful.

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