A consortium of Swiss companies is working on an electric vehicle project that will never hit public roads, but which could be pivotal for electric mobility, and a game changer for heavy industry. The so-called “e-dumper” is being built from a massive Komatsu dump truck that weighs 45 tons when empty and has tires as tall as a person.
Its intended usage is expected to produce a net surplus of electricity rather than draw a huge amount of grid power.
The project will capitalize on one of the strengths of electric vehicles, which is that the electric motors that drive them can also be used to brake the vehicle; and that generates electricity. This regenerative braking feature isn’t meant to, or able to, fully recharge the vehicle’s battery in most cases, but for a huge electric vehicle that travels downhill while fully loaded, using the electric motors as brakes and generating electricity, and then travels back up again when empty, it can produce a surprising amount of electricity. In this case, the Swiss e-dumper will generate an estimated 10% surplus with each trip it makes, essentially becoming an “energy plus” vehicle instead of a net consumer of electricity.
Not only will the converted Komatsu HD 605-7 dump truck be able to export electricity to the grid each day, but it will make for a much quieter and cleaner vehicle than anything else on the site.