There is not just one correct solution when talking about the future of transportation. We have come to a point where there are several technologies available, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. And what I'm about to show you is in my eyes one of the cleverest electric vehicles in the world - and it also happens to be the largest!
When we think about Switzerland, we probably come up with an image that looks similar to this:
No matter where you look, mountainous terrain is always part of the scenery. And with the pretty looks comes one major problem: a lot of places are secluded and very hard to reach by car, let alone by large trucks, making transportation very expensive.
On the other hand, the mountains offer a vast array of mining opportunities. Mining does involve heavy machinery, though.
Ok, we have mountains, mining and the need for a large transport vehicle. How can we make this work?
Meet "Lynx", the eDumper.
At first glance, you can barely see any differences to a regular dumper. But try to find its exhaust! Right, there isn't one. Because Lynx is the largest electric vehicle currently in service. The 58-ton truck can load up to 65 tons of lime and marl and transport it down the steep mountain paths in the Swiss quarry of Vigier Ciment in Péry.
And the best part: You don't even need to charge it!
The way this works is simple and efficient. Lynx takes up its 65-ton load on top of the hill where the mining is taking place. Now we have a heavily loaded vehicle very high up a mountain, ergo a lot of potential energy. While making its way down the hill, Lynx uses a brake energy recuperation system to charge its batteries. What that means is that instead of converting the brake energy into heat as regular disc brakes do, it uses a system that allows it to store the energy in a 4.5-ton battery with a total capacity of 600 kWh. That's about the size of 6 of the largest Tesla Model S batteries.
When the packed 123-ton monster reaches the foot of the hill, it will dump its load. The stored energy will then be sufficient to take the much lighter, empty vehicle back up to the top using its electric motor to repeat the cycle.
Not only does the truck save a substantial amount of fuel compared to its Komatsu HD 605-7 sibling, but it can operate 24 hours a day non-stop independently of any source of diesel or power. Sure, all the other mining equipment still needs large diesel engines. But even as a petrolhead I have to admit that for the task at hand, Lynx is most likely the BEST solution.