The world’s largest earth moving vehicle is about to hit the dirt running. The Belaz truck company of Belarus recently announced the completion of their biggest dump truck ever.
You want a truck with some power? Check out the drivetrain specs; all wheel drive using 4 drive motors at 1600 horsepower each. 6400 horsepower in all. Top speed 40 miles per hour. Curb weight, empty, of 360 tons and a 450 ton carrying capacity. It stands nearly 3 stories high. You have to climb a ladder on the side of the truck to get into the cab.
The drive motors were supplied by Siemens traction motor division. The new drivetrain arrangement has some unique features. All wheel drive gives the truck the ability to shift the traction force to either side or front to rear as conditions require. In the event of a motor failure, the truck can run on three motors. Totally flexible performance.
What stands out and really makes this a remarkable piece of equipment, is that it is a true hybrid electric. The on board twin diesel engines are not connected to the wheels in any way. The diesels are electric generators. The vehicle is a 4 wheel drive electric. And the fact is that a lot of heavy industry equipment is electric.
Mining conveyors that a miles long and handle tons of material, electric gearmotors. Dockside cranes that handle cargo containers, 300HP dc traction motors with massive gear reducers. Earth moving vehicles since the 1950’s built by Marathon LeTourneau were all hybrid electrics using brush dc motors and planetary gear reducers to power the giant wheels that make them go.
Another useful statistic for the Belaz truck is that it can power 278 pounds of payload per horsepower. That means at a top speed of 40 miles an hour, a 2780 pound car should only require 10 horsepower average power. That’s efficient! And that’s the magic of electric motors.
What’s missing in making the electric car a hand’s down winner over the internal combustion vehicle is the energy density to store or generate enough power for a given drive range. This aspect is completely different from the basic capability of making something move with electricity.
We still need a 4 times increase in energy density of battery storage over the current lithium technology in order to get there. Or we need a way to generate the electricity cheaply. Either solution will work.
And right now, the pure hybrid concept seems to be leading the way.