In what can seem a world away from highways and cities, one of the most compelling examples of industrial electrification is happening deep underground. In mines around the world, Northvolt battery-equipped Epiroc mining machines are showing how going electric is possible even in the toughest environments, as a press release states.
Now over four years in, here is what’s happening with the Northvolt-Epiroc partnership: some of the world’s largest vehicles are found operating in the mining industry. Heavy and power-hungry, shifting these machines away from combustion engines and over to electric powertrains isn’t straight-forward, but the reward is immense. It means eliminating emissions, reducing noise and lowering a mine’s operating costs through fuel savings, increased productivity and lessening the need for ventilation and cooling in underground mines.
Remarkably, electric mining is far from a vision of the future. It’s already a reality. At the forefront of the movement is Epiroc – the Swedish mining equipment giant and one of Northvolt’s first customers and partners.
Northvolt has been supplying Epiroc with battery systems for its electric machines since 2018. To date, fully electric drill rigs, loaders and mining trucks have been deployed to over ten countries as far ranging as Canada to Australia, South Africa to Sweden.
“Epiroc’s battery electric machine business has grown quickly,” says Lina Jorheden, Operations Manager for Rocvolt, Epiroc’s business unit for batteries. “Propelled by customer demand, it’s evolved from ten people working on different concepts around electrification to being a full-fledged business line.”
“Together with Northvolt, we’ve moved through field trials and into commercial deployment of systems which work as well above ground as they do underground. The response of customers has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re seeing a huge level of interest around the world.”