Battery-powered mining – by Noel Dyson (Mining Monthly – May 25, 2016)

A 100% Australian-made battery-powered car is leading the charge to remove diesel engines from underground operations.

After all, the emissions from diesel engines underground are a major challenge so removing them makes a lot of sense. The more diesel burnt underground the stronger the mine ventilation system has to be.

A bit of experimental work was done with fuel cells to get around the problem, however, the recent huge advances in battery technology has brought them to the forefront. Tomcar, the guys that set out to make a car ideally suited to the underground mining environment, have come up with an electric model.

The initial Tomcar prototype was a diesel driven vehicle that looked more like a souped up golf buggy with a serious roll cage. Interestingly though the miners were not as keen on the diesel version. They wanted electric so the version of the Tomcar that is going into production will be powered by batteries rather than petrochemicals.

The Melbourne-based company announced on Monday that production of the Tomcar LV1 electric car would begin in November. Tomcar co-founder and CEO David Brim reckons the LV1 will be Australia’s first production electric car.

The drivetrain is being developed by New South Wales-based Energetique and the rest of the vehicle will be manufactured by MTM Auto Components in Melbourne.

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