Caterpillar is throwing its hat in the electric mining truck ring. The newly-Texas-based company gathered feedback from real-world customers to develop a battery-powered version of the huge 793, and it demonstrated what the truck is capable of at its proving grounds in Arizona.
Electrifying a mining truck makes a tremendous amount of sense: these mammoth vehicles regularly haul heavy loads on relatively short routes. Caterpillar explained the customers who opted to participate in the Early Learner program it launched in 2021 provided the feedback required to electrify the 793, though it stopped short of revealing precisely what these companies requested or publishing specifications.
The electric 793's first test took place on a 4.3-mile course, and Caterpillar notes its engineers gathered 110,000 data points per second by monitoring over 1,100 data channels during the event. With a full load, the truck reached a top speed of 37.3 mph, drove up a 10% grade at 7.5 mph for a little over half a mile, and put its brake energy recuperation system to the test on the way down. These figures are about on par with the ones posted by the 793F, which is powered by an 85-liter, 16-cylinder diesel engine rated at approximately 2,500 horsepower.
Caterpillar points out there was enough electricity left in the truck's battery to complete additional testing cycles but it hasn't released key details like the pack's size, the truck's range, or the charging time. Similarly, what's next remains hazy as of writing: The electric 793 will presumably reach production at some point, and it sounds like several mine operators are waiting in line to buy one.
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