Australian copper miner Oz Minerals is to trial the world’s first electric triple road train at its operations in South Australian as part of a project with electric truck conversion specialist Janus Electric and logistics company Qube Bulk.
The 12-month trial will feature a diesel truck converted by Janus Electric that is capable of hauling up to 165 tonnes – the potential weight of a triple road train – at a range of between 200kms and 400kms on a single charge.
The truck will service Oz Minerals’ Carapateena copper mine, and a battery recharging and swap station has been installed at Port Augusta in South Australia, and will be powered by renewables.
“This is a significant milestone for the transport industry,” said Janus Electric CEO Lex Forsyth. “The Janus Electric team has developed a vehicle that both performs exceptionally and reduces carbon emissions.”
OZ Minerals CEO and MD Andrew Cole also praised the “Vision Electric” trial as one example of how the company is reducing its emissions as part of its Decarbonisation Roadmap.
“We aim to reduce our emissions by 50 per cent by 2027 and achieve net zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2030,” he said in a statement. “This trial is part of our investment to find pathways to these reductions.”
Oz Minerals, which has agreed to a takeover by global mining giant BHP, is also planning a massive $1 billion nickel mine in remote Western Australia that it proposes will be powered by at least 80 per cent renewables, and will feature electrified transport.
Janus says its batteries can be exchanged within five minutes, and the technology can be retrofitted into any prime mover, regardless of make.
Janus launched its first electric semi last year and says it can convert diesel trucks to electric for the equivalent cost of rebuilding a diesel engine.
Forsyth says that the economics of electric powered trucks is very attractive, and the cost of conversions are similar to that of changing over a diesel motor.
For a Brisbane to Sydney trip, which is an approximately 960km, a battery electric truck would need around 1732kWh of energy to pull a B-double up the coast at a cost of around $320.
By contrast, a diesel truck needs 520 litres of fuel to do the trip which will cost about $780-790 (after the fuel rebate is applied).
Daniel Bleakley is a clean technology researcher and advocate with a background in engineering and business. He has a strong interest in electric vehicles, renewable energy, manufacturing and public policy.