Hybrid vehicles come in a variety of shapes and sizes from a plethora of automakers, but a new concept from Rolls-Royce is raising eyebrows. Today, the company showcased a new haul truck concept – the ones needed at massive mining operations – that uses a hybrid powertrain to reduce its carbon emissions. Rolls is teasing the concept through its Power Systems business unit at MINExpo 2021.
The new concept pairs MTU’s less-powerful diesel engines with batteries, though performance remains the same. According to Rolls’ simulation, the hybrid powertrain could reduce the vehicle’s CO2 emissions by 20 to 30 percent, depending on the topography. Getting from the bottom of a quarry will take a lot more energy than driving on a flat surface. The onboard batteries are recharged through recuperating braking energy when going downhill, and this will allow Rolls to downsize the engine reduce emissions. It uses the stored energy going uphill.
The concept arrives hot on the heels of the BMW i Vision Circular concept that previews a recyclable city car. According to BMW, Rolls’ parents company, reducing emissions means rethinking the entire car-building process, which includes mineral extraction. Rolls’ concept is the first step toward meeting that ambitious goal, especially as the need for rare earth metals continues to rise alongside the growing EV market.
MTU and Rolls are heavily investing in alternative power sources as the company lays its vision for a net zero-carbon mining operation. That includes microgrids, sustainable fuels, fuel cells, and hydrogen engines. The goal to eliminate carbon emissions can take many forms, and EVs won’t be the solution for every application. Hydrogen is one alternative that many automakers continue to develop, and each type of new power source will help reduce emissions. We don’t often think of Rolls as a commercial automaker, but it has vast interests, and its new green concept shows off its vast operations.