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The Largest All-Electric Vehicle in the World Has 4.5-Ton Battery Pack

I think I'm not the only one who looked twice the first time I saw a dump truck (or mine truck, call it whatever you want) in a picture. There was no Photoshop back then, and no Internet either, but I still felt like I was being pranked. "Fake!" I wanted to shout, being convinced that something like that couldn't really exist.
E-Dumper 3 photos
After all, it was a vehicle as half as tall as the building I lived in and it had a full staircase at the front. I may have been young, but I knew vehicles didn't have staircases, so there was no fooling me. I asked my father, and he told me they were real. "No way," I thought, "he must be in it as well."

I still haven't seen one in the flesh, but I do know now that either they exist, or this is the most elaborate prank in the world. If it's the latter, then companies such as LIEBHERR, BELAZ, Caterpillar or KOMATSU would be left without a huge part of their business, which is partly why I tend to go with the former.

All joking aside, these things are so enormous, it's hard to imagine they can move on their own. Some weigh hundreds of tons, and they can even go over 1,000 tons when fully loaded. Incidentally (or not), the biggest of them all - the BELAZ-75710 - has an electric drivetrain. With a 1,200 kW (1,632 hp) electric motor tucked away in each of its four wheels, that's enough to move the 810-ton beast.

The KOMATSU you see here is much more modest. It only weighs 110 tons, but like the BELAZ, it too has an electric drivetrain. Unlike the Belarussian machine, which has two huge engines on board acting as generators, this truck uses a 700 kWh battery pack accounting for 4.5 tons of the vehicle's weight.

The truck is called the E-Dumper and is the brainchild of two companies: Kuhn (Switzerland) AG and Lithium Storage GmbH. These two were commissioned by Ciments Vigier SA to develop the electric hauling master by stripping down a KOMATSU 605 HD and replacing its diesel engine with an electric powertrain.

The prototype is now almost complete and ready to start carrying its 65-ton payload up and down a quarry in Switzerland. The best thing about having a battery pack is that the E-Dumper can recuperate energy as it goes downhill into the quarry to pick up its next load.

The Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology has estimated the truck will be able to regenerate around 40 kWh worth of energy on each of its 20 daily descents. That means, according to the same institution, that the E-Dumper will be a Plus Energy vehicle by returning a 200 kWh surplus each day.

We're no scientists, but that sounds absolutely impossible. If it were true, then the energy problem would be solved and the E-Dumper would mark the launch of the world's first dump truck power station where these vehicles are used to generate electricity. It's a perpetual motion machine that can extract tons of dirt from the ground and charge two Tesla Model S P100Ds at the end of the day as well, all with zero emissions.

There is only one E-Dumper at the time, but if the prototype proves useful, the contractor might ask for more. If what they claim is true, then we can't see any reason why Ciments Vigier SA wouldn't switch to an all-E-Dumper fleet. It may have something to do with the $1 million plus cost of the project.

press release

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