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Voltra eCruiser – World’s First Electric Land Cruiser

Kamil Kaluski July 12, 2018 Hooniverse Truck Thursday 9 Comments

We live in very interesting times when it comes to automobiles. We have pretty much conquered reliability and safety – by that I mean that most new cars will easily run for 100,000 miles and they’re far from being the death traps they just a few decades ago. Simple oil change intervals have gone from 3000 to 15,000 miles. We progressed from surviving accidents to avoiding accidents. We are currently in the process of eliminating the driver and gasoline from cars. While most of us here love older cars, we’d be making a mistake if we didn’t pay attention to what is going on with cars now and the near future. 

While the progress in passenger cars has been dramatic, it has been much slower in heavier duty commercial vehicles. Take the Toyota Land Cruiser 70-series, for instance. It’s as old schools as it gets, having been in production since the 1980’s with little change. Yet it still in demand in certain regions and industries. Heck, I’d give up a kidney for one.

An Australian company that works with in the mining industry did something interesting recently. They yanked out the turbo-diesel V8 and its transmission from a new Land Cruiser and replaced it with an electric motor and lithium-ion batteries. And the best part is that it was done out of a need and not just a desire to have eclectic electric vehicle. 

There is a whole issue of oxygen in mining – there isn’t a lot of it in mines. And that was the need that drove the creation of this vehicle. Out went the diesel V8 and in went a 140hp electric motor. If my calculations are correct it makes around 189lb-ft of torque, probably at 0-rpm. That motor is connected the factory part-time transfer-case and then onto factory axles.

The charge is stored in 132 100-Ah cells. According to Voltra that calculates into 42.24kWh. For comparison, the Tesla Model S is available with 75 and 100kWh batteries. There is no specified range for the eCruiser or acceleration numbers, which is this case would be rather pointless as long as they are somewhat comparable to the stock Cruiser. There is also no word on the weight difference between the eCruiser and the Cruiser, and therefore its payload capacity. The charging time is 5.5 hours on a 240-volt, 32-amp circuit and just one hour on a fast charger. Regenerative braking tops off the batteries while driving. 

The result is a vehicle that satisfies the mining industry’s needs and that doesn’t pollute the air which is already in shorty supply there. The company claims the the eCruiser is smoother and more comfortable to drive. That its sealed components reduce service time and cost. The eCruiser is still in a prototype phase but the company intends to to sell conversion kits for 70-series Land Cruisers. Overall the information provided is kind of vague and difficult to decipher but the idea is really cool. 

You can follow the eCruiser developments here

Specifications:

SPECS DETAILS E-LV79-CONV
Motor Type 3 phase permanent magnet radial flux
Cont. Power 66 kw
Peak Power 104 kw
Cont. Torque 106 Nm
Peak Torque 256 Nm
Cooling Agent 60/40 Glycol/Water
IP Level IP69
Inverter Power 110 kVA
Cont. Current 350 Arms
Peak Current 575 Arms
Cooling Agent 60/40 Glycol/Water
IP Level IP69
Charger Power 6.6 kw
Input Single phase (onboard charger)CCS Type 2 Charger for fast charging
Cooling Agent 60/40 Glycol/Water
TransferCase Type  Original part time 4WD
Diff Lock Original
High Gear Ratio 4.19:1
Battery Low Gear  RatioType 10.42472:1Modular
Cells 132 x 100 Ah
Cell Type Prismatic
Energy Content 42.24 kWh
Nominal Voltage 422 V
Min/Max Voltage 330V/482V
Cont. Current 33A
Peak Current 300A
Chemistry LiFeP04
ThermalManagement  Integrated Evaporator & Ducted air
IP Level IP69
Misc Aircon Type  Variable speed 400V compressor w/independent cab heating/cooling, battery, electronics  & motor cooling – all under software control
Brake Booster Type Original w/12V vacuum pump
Power Steering Variable speed – Original w/12V pump

  • Alff

    Interesting to see this charging at the base of a windmill. Windfarms are a common sight on the corn/soybean fields of nearby Iowa – so much so that I’ve wondered if there isn’t a practical way to power farm machinery with electricity. I realize this is a tall order, given lengthy recharging times and the relative fuel efficiency of diesel but perhaps with swappable battery packs this could make sense…

    • Scoutdude

      Well if they are plugging into a windmill then I think the current would be high enough for the capability of starting the day with a full charge. The only question is if that charge will give a full day’s worth of work. As long as they could get a full day’s worth of work out of a charge I think they would be a great idea. Leave the combine or tractor parked at the windmill overnight. In the morning show up to a fully charged machine, in the featured vehicle, swap the plugs and get to work. Then have a fully charged truck waiting for you as needed.

      • It says one hour to full charge at high voltage/current, which I assume would be available at a windmill. Figure over a nice lunch break, halfway thru the day.

        • Scoutdude

          For a truck used on the farm you wouldn’t need a bunch of range, what I was considering were things like tractors and harvesting equipment, they need hours not miles and there isn’t going to be much in the way of regen because a good chunk of the power is used by the machinery and mechanisms that do the actual work. As Alff pointed out when it is “time to bring in the crops” the machine may be moving almost non stop for 15-16 hours or more. Larger operations may occasionally run around the clock if needed.

          • outback_ute

            Are there batteries that can replace a thousand gallons of diesel? The economics would be interesting.

      • Alff

        As you point out, the question is whether you could get the day’s work done before running out of juice. The problem may be that farming is not 9-5. The farmers in my family tend to work into the wee hours during planting and harvesting and make that up with less than full schedules during the rest of the year.

        • Vairship

          Of course there’s another possibility: bring on the trolleybuscombine!

  • outback_ute

    I’d be astonished if the batteries matched the diesel fuel range because they have 2x 90 litre tanks – 45 US gal? But then I don’t expect that mine service vehicles cover a lot of mileage in a shift.

    For farming use I’d expect you could get a good enough range to cover a day’s use most of the time – spending too much time driving is not productive! Keep the old pickup for the cases where the electric one won’t fit the bill. I assume farmers in the US do this anyway – my uncle hasn’t sold a pickup in 30 years.

    • I think the idea behind the huge fuel tanks is to have the ability to cross great uncharted distances across Australia or Africa rather than daily work in a defined area. Or it could be both.
      My guess is that range wasn’t much of a factor in this design…