Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Gets an Electrifying Mining Gig
Australian firms Voltra and BHP have teamed up to create an all-electric Toyota for underground work.
The Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series is, without question, one of the most capable trucks ever sold anywhere in the world. That is why the vehicle has remained relatively unchanged since it was introduced back in 1984, but according to Autoblog, an Australian electric vehicle company has made some major changes to the popular Land Cruiser. Voltra has installed an all-electric power plant in a four-wheel-drive, two-door to create a purpose-built mining truck called the eCruiser.
Voltra has developed their eCruiser truck for the Australian mining firm BHP and in theory, this electric workhorse would replace diesel-powered trucks. The key issue with diesel engines in the mining world is that they create exhaust fumes that can make the underground air unhealthy to breathe, but with the electric drive motors providing no emissions – electric vehicles seem like the perfect option for mining companies.
Of course, the issue with an electric vehicle is charging, but with a combination of regenerative braking and the option of charging stations underground, the Voltra eCruiser could be the ideal solution for cleaner air in the mines.
High Tech Toyota
The Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series has long-been a popular work vehicle for mining companies, with the emissions from the diesel engines being the only real downside. The Voltra eCruiser should offer all of the working abilities of the 70 Series with the emission-free power of an electric drivetrain.
In addition to sending less toxic gases into the mines, the electric drivetrain in the eCruiser requires less maintenance due to the lack of a traditional transmission, it is quieter and it produces less heat in the tight spaces of the underground tunnels.
In the video above from the BHP YouTube channel, we get a look at the all-electric Toyota Land Cruiser in action along with a few shots of the under-hood area with the electric bits replacing the factory combustion engine. The second video (below) from the Voltra YouTube channel provides a closer look at the eCruiser during its development stages, giving us a chance to hear the truck in action. It kind of sounds like an electric remote control car.
Right now, Voltra doesn’t plan to mass-produce the eCruiser, but the company does plan to build one more electric Land Cruiser while evaluating their function with BHP. The company will also look at how air quality improves in the mines compared to when a similar truck with a diesel engine is at work.
Provided that the Voltra eCruiser works as well as the engineers hope, we could soon see the dawn of a new era in mining vehicles – one dominated by electric power.