Light electric vehicles (LEVs) are performing well in early trials in our underground mines at Olympic Dam in South Australia and Broadmeadow in Queensland. Not only do they eliminate exhaust fumes and reduce noise, they are receiving positive operator feedback on driving performance.
Early observations indicate LEVs may require less maintenance as they have fewer moving components.
The first stage of the LEV trial involved short trips, up to 50 kilometres a day, without additional weight. The vehicles travelled up to 100 kilometres on the surface and between 60 and 70 kilometres underground before requiring recharging. An inbuilt charger then recharged a quarter of the energy consumed each trip when vehicles were parked
LEVs use low emissions technology. This is particularly attractive underground because they have the potential to significantly reduce diesel particulate matter exposures.
The partnerships between our operational teams, Strategy and Innovation Group and global Original Equipment Manufacturers is helping the trial’s success.
In FY2020 the vehicles will be tested over longer distances (up to 100 kilometres per day) and with additional weight (200 to 300 kilograms).
The outcomes from this will help validate the exposure reduction benefits and provide considerable insight into the viability of a larger-scale adoption of electric vehicles and mining equipment across our business.