The Electrical Echidna — Mining Truck

How do you go from Laddertubes to electrical mining vans? Why would you name a truck like that an echidna? These are the questions I put to Beau McKenna, advertising supervisor of Safescape in Australia.

He answered: “The Bortana EV was initially a product of mining security specialists Safescape who produce merchandise comparable to Laddertube and Edge Protector. Safescape developed the Bortana EV prototype and commenced the preliminary phases of pre-production for the Bortana EV. As soon as it reached a sure dimension a choice was made to carve out the Bortana EV and create a stand-alone model ‘Bortana’ to proceed with the pre-production into manufacturing builds. Whereas it’d seem to be a stretch {that a} plastic escapeway producer would develop an electrical car, our overarching ethos is ‘security’ so producing a car that can make underground staff safer is the core hyperlink that connects our companies.”

In 2005, whereas working underground as an Airleg Miner, Steve Durkin noticed the circumstances of conventional escapeways and conceptualised Laddertube. By 2009, Steve had constructed the primary Laddertube at his residence in Regional Victoria. After receiving curiosity from mining firms, he established Safescape. In 2010, After profitable prototype developments, the primary model of Laddertube was put in at Fosterville Gold Mine (Victoria, Australia). Recognising that prevention is best than remedy in security, Safescape start the event of a zero-emission car to enhance miner well being and security. The Bortana EV was born.

Bortana is the OEM (authentic tools producer) of the Bortana EV and the Australasian distributor of the diesel Agrale Marruá, made in Brazil. The Bortana EV is derived from the Marruá base. Nonetheless, not like numerous different Australian electrical car producers, it isn’t a retrofit.

“As now we have a relationship with Agrale by distribution, they’re making the bottom physique and chassis to our specs on their Marruá manufacturing line in Brazil and never incorporating any diesel parts. The autos arrive as a rolling chassis in Bendigo, regional Victoria, and from there we add all different parts, batteries, motor, and so on., producing the car from the bottom up. When it’s full, we roll the car off our manufacturing line as a Bortana EV.” See the video right here:

Why use the echidna as an emblem for an electrical mining truck? The reply is that the echidna is an iconic Australian monotreme — generally often called spiny anteaters, they’re quill-covered monotremes (egg-laying mammals). The 4 extant species of echidnas and the platypus are the one dwelling mammals that lay eggs and the one surviving members of the order Monotremata. And sure, they suckle their younger.

“The echidna motif took place by a seek for the proper animal illustration of the Bortana EV — we wished one thing uniquely Australian, made for the underground, rugged and strong. After another preliminary issues, we settled on the echidna. Shortly after, we had an precise echidna make its method into our Bortana EV workshop right here in Bendigo, so it appeared serendipitous.”

Evie the Echidna

Brett holding Evie the Echidna. Photograph courtesy of Bortana EV.

“We’re at present finalising the fleet of 10 pre-production Bortana EVs, a few of that are already on trial with websites in Australia (nevertheless, we’re unable to reveal the place). As soon as the pre-production fleet is full, we are going to flip our consideration to full manufacturing, which is more likely to begin on the finish of 2023.” I requested what kind of numbers could possibly be produced, and Beau informed me: “Manufacturing numbers are being pushed by the business. We will comfortably make 4–6 autos per thirty days within the early levels, however relying on shopper demand and cashflow, this might simply scale.”

Echidna Bortana EV

Bortana prototypes prepared for deployment. Photograph courtesy of Bortana EV.

“We’re receiving large quantities of curiosity from the mining business primarily as a result of we’re one of many solely OEMs producing a non-retrofit car that’s constructed for function and carries the creature comforts and styling of a mainstream shopper utility car. Our greatest differentiators available in the market are our 2-tonne payload, galvanised physique, sealed chassis, and enhanced security options giving an estimated lifetime of the car in excessive demand underground duties at 7–10 years. This mixed with the usual EV advantages of zero emissions, much less warmth, and lowered upkeep makes it an fascinating prospect for mine websites worldwide.

“Upkeep on the Bortana EV is much like different EVs, there are far fewer shifting components so the probability for put on and tear is lowered and as such upkeep focuses extra on inspection than on greasing and oiling parts or changing filters.”

Echidna Bortana EV

Echidna a becoming brand for the Bortana EV. Photograph courtesy of Bortana.

“And whereas the car has been designed particularly for underground mining, we’re receiving numerous curiosity from different industries the place a protracted life, off highway, electrical utility can be useful (i.e., forest/park administration companies), so we hope to have the ability to assist different industries transition to zero-emission as properly.”

Perhaps there’s a potential for a barely much less hardcore model to be bought to most of the people in a number of years. In spite of everything, persons are shopping for Hummers!

A typical business ute will solely final 12–18 months within the moist, salty, and acidic surroundings of a mine, however the Bortana ute — based mostly on an Agrale chassis constructed for the Brazilian jungle and the Brazilian military — is anticipated to final extra like 7–10 years. The Bortana EV is at present being produced as a single cab, with dual-cab and people-mover choices to return in 2023. It boasts a powerful 160kW output motor, 350Nm of torque, and a pair of tonne payload.

The Bortana is galvanised to guard it from the weather. A giant enhance in longevity like this produces value advantages in addition to environmental good points. Longer-lasting autos means much less want to provide new autos — saving carbon.

Echidna Bortana EV

Ben and Beau trying out the Bortana. Photograph courtesy of Photo voltaic Residents.

Ben from Photo voltaic Residents tells me: “They had been doing superb issues with the electrical drive facet of issues, together with numerous telemetry to see what’s taking place with the autos they’re sending to mines all around the world — and the electrical drive side has massive advantages for the mine surroundings, together with cheaper operating and never placing out the warmth or particulates a diesel does. However there’s clearly numerous different issues they’re attempting to resolve with this new car, not simply electrification!”

With Australia’s large mining business as a buyer base, and little or no competitors for this car kind, the electrical echidna-badged Bortana is a really wholesome future.


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