As someone who’s been championing EVs since 2008, I’ve heard it all. “You can’t tow in an EV!”. “EVs are pointless until they can do 500 miles on a charge and cost $15,000 new!” But one of the most common arguments against EVs is that large, heavy vehicles are impossible to electrify.
Tesla has largely put that myth to rest with its electric semi trucks. But there are still some voices to be heard declaring that nothing larger will ever be possible to electrify because they lack vision and knowledge of the theoretical limits of lithium battery energy density.
Well, how about this fuckin’ thing? This big enough for you? It’s called the eDumper, currently utilized on a trial basis by a Slovenian mining company. Because the route it’s used on goes uphill, where the truck picks up heavy loads, then downhill (where it deposits them) supposedly regenerative braking produces all the power that is needed.
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Holding the opinion that I do still believe Self-Driving or Autonomous Vehicles are a luxury rather than a necessity…
This is possible only in a special situation like this one because normally there’d be no way to generate more power on the way down a hill than that used to climb it. Except here, the truck is being loaded with heavy materials that increase the amount of energy produced by regen on the way down. This makes the truck essentially energy neutral in practice and not necessary to plug in.
The load capacity is 58 tons, the battery pack is a whopping 700 kwh, and just that battery by itself weighs 4.5 tons.
How about this big boy? This big enough for you? It’s the largest truck in the world, and it’s all electric. It’s made by ETF, same as the eDumper and is part of their modular family of all-electric industrial vehicles. This truck features the ability to organize autonomously into part of a haul train of many identical electric trucks.
Capacity is 400 tons in a single load, up to ten trucks can self-organize into a convoy, it has all-wheel drive and each wheel has independent suspension which can be dynamically adjusted by computer to smooth out the ride. This also permits an individual wheel to be raised up out of the way in case it’s damaged, so the truck can still continue to work on the remaining 7 wheels.
Is that big enough? No! We need to go bigger. A Chinese company has launched the world’s first all-electric container ship recently, with an astonishing 2.4 MEGAwatt hour battery. You read that right. This ship has the same kind of energy storage you’d expect from a grid storage battery facility.
Even so, the range is only about 50 miles. But it isn’t yet maxed out. The battery it currently uses is sized specifically for the route this ship will travel. There is plenty of room to expand the battery, which is separated into 1,000 modular sections. The tremendous buoyancy of ships and the large size of vessels used in shipping means ample room for even absurdly large battery packs. 2.4-megawatt hours, while unprecedented, is only the beginning.
The tragic irony of this vessel is that despite representing a huge step forward for environmentally friendly shipping…it will, at least initially, be used to transport coal.
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