The 26th of January 2018, Australia Day, saw the completion of the electric conversion process on our second Voltra eCruiser vehicle in Adelaide! This was a significant milestone in our mission to deliver Australia’s first fully electric light vehicle for underground mining.
Daily updates as the build progressed can be viewed on the Voltra LinkedIn page:
On the 4th of January, a stripped-down Toyota Land Cruiser 79 Series arrived at our Adelaide workshop. Over the coming weeks, our engineers worked tirelessly to transform the Land Cruiser into a state-of-the-art battery electric underground mining vehicle.
The first step in the build is the removal of unnecessary parts, including the diesel engine, exhaust system, fuel tank, radiator, snorkel and other engine related componentry. Having removed the old parts we are then able to install the upgraded systems that turn the Land Cruiser into a highly capable emission free workhorse.
Battery boxes and the lithium cells are the first new components to be installed. The battery bank is comprised of three separate armoured sealed boxes.
After the cells are connected and cabling run through ducting, it’s time to start assembling the Battery Management System (BMS). The BMS has a direct connection to each of the lithium battery cells and monitors their state of health which is reported on the Controller Area Network (CAN).
With the cells in and terminated and the BMS installed, it’s then on to the front battery box to install the power distribution components. These components oversee fusing and distributing high voltage power to the high voltage components such as traction motors, DC-DC converter, battery charger and air conditioning compressor.
Having most of the electronics installed means that the drive train assembly can be lifted into place and drive shafts connected. Since the electric drive unit is much simpler compared to a diesel engine, a test run can be performed with only a few cables hooked up.
With the motor and control tested the next step is installing the other accessories such as the power steering pump, brake vacuum booster and charge port. Before commissioning the vehicle, it must be tested and tuned to the specific requirements of the new customer.
One of our highly-skilled technical engineers gave his feedback on the project: “Integrating the battery electric drive system into the Toyota Land Cruiser provided a good challenge on the engineering front. As with any retrofit the original equipment manufacturer didn’t design the vehicle with an EV conversion in mind! With some good computer aided design and well-known application requirements the resulting kit is a simple and robust upgrade to the conventional combustion engine and drive line.”
The Voltra eCruiser now continues its journey, being transported off-site to be fitted with mine spec components, including high-visibility stripes, beacons, a tray, radios, and occupant protection. Operational deployment in an underground mine is not far away – follow our LinkedIn page using the below link for regular updates!