4 x 4 Australia




MINING companies retrofitti­ng 4WD vehicles with battery electric powertrain­s isn’t new, but the latest conversion of a Landcruise­r 70 Series ute is noteworthy as it directly involves Toyota Australia. The conversion was carried out by Toyota Australia’s Product Planning and Developmen­t division in Port Melbourne as of part of real-world testing carried out in conjunctio­n with mining giant BHP.

The small-scale trial will see the converted single-cab ute, which is equipped for undergroun­d mine use, operate under battery power alone at the BHP Nickel West mine in Western Australia.

Toyota is not divulging any technical informatio­n such as battery capacity or range ‘as this is a trial’, though it says more informatio­n will become available in coming months.

Interestin­gly, the pictures show it has a Type 2 charging port. Assuming that is the only socket on the vehicle, this means it can only accept low-speed AC charging, which suggests either a low battery capacity and driving range, or long charging times.

BHP is already operating an electric Landcruise­r 70 Series called the ecruiser, which was converted by Perthbased engineerin­g firm Voltra and was initially trialled at its Olympic Dam site in South Australia in July 2018.

The ecruiser has a 42.24kwh battery capacity that can be charged in about an hour using a 50kw DC rapid charger.

According to Voltra the vehicle involved in the BHP trial had an 80 to 100km range in mining conditions.

The benefits of a zero-emissions mining vehicle include a significan­t improvemen­t in air quality for undergroun­d miners, as they don’t have to breathe in diesel exhaust particulat­e matter in the cramped confines of a mine.

Toyota Australia’s president and CEO, Matthew Callachor said the trial is another step Toyota is taking as part of its bigger picture of a zero emissions future, but did not elaborate on any plans to produce an all-electric ute.

“BHP and Toyota have demonstrat­ed a strong relationsh­ip throughout the last 20 years, and this project is a great testament to how we can both work together as leading companies in our respective industries to change the future,” Callachor said.

Edgar Basto, president of Minerals Australia-bhp said the partnershi­p with Toyota is another step in the company’s plan to reduce the emissions intensity of its light-vehicle and lower operationa­l emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

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 ??  ?? PLUG IN Toyota Australia and BHP have undergone trials on a new electric LC70. Watch this space.
PLUG IN Toyota Australia and BHP have undergone trials on a new electric LC70. Watch this space.

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