Caterpillar has shown off its new prototype electric mining truck, the 793 Electric, and announced plans to create other electric and autonomous vehicles for industrial use.
Caterpillar has long been a leader in the heavy vehicles industry. Now, the company plans to attempt to extend its lead with new electric offerings for heavy industry. The first product they demonstrated today was an all-electric mining truck. Still, it will be followed by numerous other all-electric machines, charging products, and investments in autonomous vehicle technology.
Caterpillar showed off their prototype 793 Electric truck at their Tuscon Proving Grounds in Arizona, where the truck is tested as customers would use it in a simulated mine. The 793’s bed is loaded with dirt from a quarry, the truck transports the dirt to a nearby storage area, and its cargo is finally unloaded like any other heavy truck. But in this case, operators benefit from decreased vehicle noise, lower maintenance costs, and lower vehicle emissions.
Caterpillar’s presentation specifically outlined that they would be working on all-electric variations of their trucks, hydraulic shovels, drills, large-wheel loaders, and dozers in the coming years. But Caterpillar vehicles are far from the only thing the company hopes to sell to consumers.
Caterpillar hopes to provide many of the products that would keep their electric vehicles on the road at a large-scale industrial site; large vehicle charging solutions (both stationary and “dynamic” (wireless)), integrated digital management solutions, and perhaps most intriguingly, power solutions.
Caterpillar already supplies many large industrial sites with large diesel generators, but the company is now working to offer renewable options. Caterpillar outlined that their Tuscon testing facility is already partially powered by solar energy, and the company hopes to expand their renewable power generation with more solar (2MW), wind (3MW), battery energy storage systems (18MW), and even hydrogen power solutions.
Caterpillar obviously believes the mine and other industrial areas of the future will look quite different from the ones created and managed today. The simulated mine they demonstrate highlights the possibility of making mining and resource extraction a far cleaner and more sustainable process. Hopefully, through the company’s investments in electric vehicles and other more sustainable technologies, they can have a positive impact on the industry they supply.
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