and buses account for a large part of CO2 emissions from the transport sector
in Europe. Reducing emissions is one of the major challenges if the Paris
Agreement target is to be met, and most agree that electrification is one of
the technology solutions that must be employed.
the winter of 2021, Volvo Trucks, ABB and Vattenfall, in collaboration with the
mining company Kaunis Iron and Wist Last & Buss, conducted a trial to test
the limits of what is possible. Would it be possible to replace the normal
diesel-driven transport of ore concentrate, i.e. finely ground iron ore, from
the iron ore mine in Kaunisvaara to the transshipment station at the Iron Ore
Railway Line, with electric trucks? What would be required? And what happens
when the temperature drops to minus 30?
kilometres in Arctic conditions
test started in February and ran for four weeks. The task was to drive a fully
battery-powered Volvo FMX from the home base in Junosuando to the mine in
Kaunisvaara and then unload the cargo in Pitkäjärvi where the ore was
transferred to the railway for further transport to the Narvik harbour in
Norway. This is a 280-kilometre round trip that is normally operated by
participated through its service solution Power-as-a-Service, which included
installation, operation and ensuring the function of the charging stations.
Vattenfall was also the electricity supplier in the project.
how did it go? We spoke to Lino Martino, one of the truck drivers who drove the
electric vehicle in the polar winter. "I must say it exceeded
expectations. The test proved it works with electricity. Even if the charging
stops were a drawback, we were able to drive the whole distance, including 140
kilometres with 14 tonnes of ore concentrate in the tipper, from the mine to
the transshipment station, and then back again. And, on top, the cold that we
get up here in winter. At most it dropped to -32 degrees. Then it gets cold,
despite the snowmobile suit I wear," he says.
electric truck is in many ways similar to the one I normally drive, same type
of cab and so on, just even easier to drive, it's just one button for forward
and reverse. And this truck is so quiet, you can't hear the engine. Not even
when it's straining, only the tyres can be heard. And the vibrations are also
much less than with a diesel. All in all, it's a much more pleasant place to
there are still challenges that need to be addressed. One of which is the
range. The truck's battery capacity sets the limit, and in this case it was
necessary to take a break to charge the truck both at the mine and at the
transshipment station to avoid the risk of stopping on the road,” he adds.
the trial period is now over, Lino Martino is certain: electrified transport
will take over, sooner or later. "Work is already underway on better
batteries and more powerful charging. Up here, the cold is a problem, but there
are other technical solutions, for example, overhead lines could be one way
forward. And for on-site transports with only short distances, electric power
would work perfectly. If we are to realise a fossil-free society, we need
electric transport. I'm convinced that the technology will develop in the near
future. That's definitely how things are going," says Lino Martino.
FACTS ABOUT THE PILOT PROJECT
Kaunis Iron, Vattenfall, Volvo Lastvagnar, ABB and Wist Last & Buss.
period: February 2021.
Battery-electric Volvo FMX.
weight: 32 tonnes.
weight: Approximately 15 tonnes.
Fully electric, 400 kW, with 2 gears.
Lithium ion with a nominal capacity of 264 kWh.
ABB delivers three high-powered chargers of 175 kW/each. The chargers are
expandable to 350 kW and have CCS outlet sockets.
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