BHP commences journey to electric vehicles

Mining giant BHP has partnered with Canadian electric vehicle manufacturer Miller Technology and an Australian-based battery charger manufacturer Tritium, in a project to trial electric vehicles (EVs) at the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) mine at Broadmeadow in Queensland.

The project is seen as an important step on the pathway to achieving global carbon emissions reduction goals and supporting the BHP Group’s commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Tritium is based in Brisbane and since it was established in 2001 has become a global developer and manufacturer of direct current (DC) fast chargers for electric vehicles.

For its part, Tritium has provided RT175-S fast chargers to the BHP-Mitsubishi project.

With an output of 175kW the chargers can provide 171 kilometres of range to an EV in as little as ten minutes.

The charger is liquid cooled with an enclosure which is sealed to protect the power electronics against sediment, dust and moisture, and is rated to operate in harsh conditions such as experienced on mine sites.

Miller Technology is a leading supplier of mobile mining equipment.

The vehicles being used in the project are the ‘Relay’ all-wheel drive models.

Capable of charging in as little as 20 minutes for a typical 10-hour mining shift, the Relay can add up to two hours of additional run time through regenerative braking technology.

Miller Technology has invested over a decade of research and development into the Relay, concentrating on serviceability, modularity with rugged design and construction.

Miller Technology, founded in 1979, has designed and produced vehicles for the sector for over 40 years.

Core business in recent decades has focused on modifying the Toyota Land Cruiser for specific mining applications, such as underground scissor lifts, personnel carriers, and Explosive Loaders.

The latest technologies continue to be explored with current engagement in fully autonomous electric vehicles for mining and investigations into the development of hydrogen fuel cells as an energy source.

The Relay can carry a two-tonne payload and provides 1,550 Nm of torque.

It uses an efficient and robustly-tested rechargeable energy storage system (“RESS”).

The Relay charges through the combined charging system (“CCS”) type 2, one of the most convenient and most widely adopted charging standards.

BHP has also announced an agreement with global mining equipment manufacturer Caterpillar to develop zero-emissions battery powered large mining trucks.

These brand-new trucks to be designed and built by Caterpillar, will facilitate the trajectory of zero-emissions mining worldwide.

As part of the newly announced agreement, BHP will have early access to the Caterpillar-developed zero-emissions equipment and will provide input to the developing and testing processes.