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Electric vehicles offer zero emissions for sensitive applications.


Many industries are interested in zero-pollution electric vehicles – particularly underground mining – and the ubiquitous LandCruiser ute is an obvious candidate for electrification.

In late 2017 we were made aware of the Dutch-designed Tembo 4×4 e-LV ‘Cruiser, then being distributed in Australia by Western Australian based automotive wholesaler, Autoline. This model was launched in Europe in July 2016.

In early 2018 we discovered that Autoline had contracted NZ based electric heavy vehicle specialist maker, Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV), to build an electric conversion kit for the 79 Series LandCruiser.

Autoline is marketing the resulting RHD electric LandCruiser and as at early 2018 was still demonstrating a Tembo 4×4 LHD e-LV.

However, we understand that the Tembo 4×4 distribution will in future be through independent Australia-wide e-LV distributors and one has been appointed already: Adelaide-based Heavy Vehicle Electrics.

Autoline told us that the Tembo 4×4 vehicle is LHD only and their Voltra is RHD; however, Tembo lists RHD and LHD LandCruiser utes and 76 Series wagons, as well as HiLuxes, in its future product plans.



The first production Voltra battery-electric LandCruiser developed for Autoline is being trialled in an Australian underground mine.

A Voltra spokesperson said: “The eCruiser offers trademark toughness and reliability to handle harsh and corrosive underground environments, but with massive savings on cost, downtime and maintenance, as well as long-term environmental sustainability.”

“This is a significant milestone for us,” said ZEV Chairman George Zander. “Our goal has always been the global market and this vehicle represents our first steps in the international arena.”

“The mining industry is a very stringent one in terms of process and regulations,” said Zander. “Electric drive provides huge health and safety benefits for the mines and its workers, as well as big reductions in the amount of maintenance a vehicle requires when it does not have a combustion engine.”

The Voltra was launched in September 2017 at EV World in Auckland and the latest vehicle includes refinements from customer feedback, to suit the harsh operating conditions it is intended for.

Conversion kits are designed and manufactured in New Zealand and are shipped to Australia, where Voltra staff assemble and fit them in Adelaide.

The Voltra eCruiser is powered by a 42kWh lithium ferro-phosphate battery pack and three-phase permanent magnet, radial flux motor, with peak power of 104kW and peak torque of 256Nm.

Claimed driving range on road is 150km and 100km off road.


Meanwhile, in the Netherlands…

We contacted Tembo 4×4 when we were confused about who was selling what in Australasia and Tembo 4×4’s principal, Frank Daams, told us that in late February 2018 his company had launched its second-generation LandCruiser e-LV, with considerable updates on the 2016 model. The first model was developed in conjunction with Huber Group in Germany, but the latest development is with Actia in France.

The Tembo 4×4 e-LV EVO2 is the second edition of the world’s first zero emissions mining industry electric ute, featuring a completely new drivetrain and energy management system.

Frank Daams said: “Using all the data and feedback collected during the initial-model phase we can offer a vehicle that is even more robust, smoother to drive and better suited to the conditions
in the mining industry.”

The new vehicle was unveiled at the headquarters of FD 4×4 Centre in Bergeijk, the Netherlands, in front of an international audience.

Representatives of the mining industry, clients and suppliers were able to drive the vehicle and to examine the technical aspects of the vehicle with the Tembo 4×4 people who designed and built it.

The new drivetrain of the Tembo 4×4 e-LV has been designed using components certified for industrial use and readily available from reputable partners.

“Together with our French partner Actia we have selected an electric motor that is in use all over Europe,“ said Frank Daams.

“The compact size allows for a high position between the chassis rails, and a custom full-time-4WD gearbox transfers the power to the wheels.”

The full-time-4WD system eliminates the driveline damage that occurs in existing part-time-4WD LandCruiser mine vehicles that are locked in 4WD and driven on high-friction surfaces.

Power comes from an industry grade 28-42kWh battery pack, certified to ECE R100 and contained in a metal box. Forsee Power is one of the few battery companies able to offer the combination of quality and flexibility needed for the Tembo 4×4 e-LV.

Typical mine site range is 60-80km, but more batteries can be added for increased range.

Battery life is calculated at 8000 cycles at 80-percent depth of discharge (DOD) and 4500 cycles at 100-percent DOD.

Vehicle management is done by a can bus and telematics with remote access and a user and maintenance friendly interface. The ECU is accessed with a diagnostic tool and it can automatically share data with a server for maintenance and fleet management purposes. This simplifies maintenance on this already very simple and robust vehicle.


The Tembo 4×4 e-LV was well received by the international audience present at the launch.

Brian McKenna from Boliden Tara Mines, Ireland, evaluated the first prototype and he was happy to see the development:

“It is a huge improvement over the first prototype,” he said. “The engine power is more balanced and it is very quiet.

“I think our workshop will like the elevated drivetrain that puts everything out of harms’ way.”

“For me, reliability is most important in such a vehicle,” said Eve Tousignant of Access Canada. “Our clients can live with the charging time, but ideally it should be able to run 24/7.

“It drives beautifully and is a real solution to the problems we have in underground mining.”

At OTA we’ll follow the electric LandCruiser experience from both these companies in Australia.



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