Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Gets an Electrifying Mining Gig

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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.

Underground Problems

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.

eCruiser Toyota Land Cruiser

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.

Toyota eCruiser Underhood

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.

Toyota eCruiser Rear

The Future

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.

"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

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