Williams Advanced Engineering partners with Fortescue to develop battery-electric haul truck

Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) and Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) today announced an agreement to design, build, test and integrate a battery system to power an electric mining haul truck. The project will involve the design and construction of a bespoke battery-electric powertrain with the ability to regenerate power as the truck travels downhill.

The battery will be built at WAE’s facility in Grove, Oxfordshire in the UK before being shipped to Perth, Australia. Here it will be integrated into a 240-tonne prototype haul truck for performance testing at Fortescue’s mining operations in the Pilbara, Western Australia.

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To support the full implementation of a battery-electric haulage fleet, the project will also involve the development of a fast-charging unit. This will harness renewable energy from Fortescue’s Pilbara Energy Connect network.

For the project, WAE will be drawing on its high-performance battery expertise, which lies at the core of the business, covering the automotive, motorsport, marine, and aerospace sectors. The company was the original supplier of batteries to the entire grid of FIA Formula E World Championship cars in 2014, a relationship that has been revived for the 2022-23 season.

This is great news for an area that is not known for its clean living and impressive that Fortescue are so forward-thinking. Working with Williams Advanced Engineering should produce something special, especially with their form in Formula E engine development. Hopefully, the collaboration will create something that will become the model for other heavy-weight haulage producers to follow.

Craig Wilson, Williams Advanced Engineering managing director, said: “We are delighted to be working with Fortescue on this pioneering project that will help enable their future decarbonisation strategy, contributing to a reduction of carbon emissions in the heavy-duty mining sector. High-performance battery systems are at the core of WAE. Both companies have a shared culture for innovation and rapid response and are committed to creating a sustainable future.’’

Elizabeth Gaines, Fortescue CEO, said: “Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing the planet and Fortescue is committed to tackling this challenge head-on through our industry-leading target to achieve net-zero operational emissions by 2040.

“This includes a 26 percent reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions from existing operations from 2020 levels by 2030. With around a quarter of these emissions attributed to our mobile haul fleet, this represents a significant opportunity to drive our pathway to being diesel-free. Fortescue’s history of developing and adopting innovation and technology has been key to the success of our business and in partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, we look forward to applying this technology-first strategy to our emissions reduction pathway.”

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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