As I’m sure many of you know, lots of heavy equipment in the world operates on the same principles as a hybrid car like the Chevy Volt does. There’s a combustion engine that is actually acting as a generator which is providing electricity to massive motors at the wheels to move heavy loads. Mining haul trucks are like this. My understanding is that the LeTourneau company out of Texas was a pioneering force in developing the basis for this technology over the years. The incredible torque afforded by the electric motors make them perfect for hauling massive loads around. But sometimes even the huge diesel generator on board ain’t enough and that’s when a brilliant innovation I had never heard of comes into play. The so called “Trolley Assist” that this truck uses is beyond genius and obviously effective.
If you are working in a mine, there’s the natural reality that the trucks hauling the overburden out will have to climb a grade to get out and descend one to get back into the mining area. Those grades are made as gently as possible to help the lumbering 300-ton trucks do their work but sometimes the inevitable happens and there’s a steep climb to make. Since even the big trucks have their limit the way that they can be assisted in doing their work is with an extra shot of electricity and that’s where Trolley Assist comes in.
When the big dump truck heads for the hill, the driver hits a switch and a big pair of electrical pickups raise and connect with the overhead wires…just like a trolley in a city. The extra electricity allows the truck to maintain pace up the grade and once it reaches level ground the driver drops the pickups and goes along his way. Even more genius is that this process is repeated in reverse when the truck is going downhill and through regenerative braking the truck becomes a mobile power plant and puts electricity back into the grid! How awesome, right?
We don’t know the specs as far as voltage and amperage but we are going to go out on a limb and guess that it is more significant than your girl’s hairdryer.