Oxfordshire’s Williams Advanced Engineering to develop battery electric haul truck with Oz company

Williams Advanced Engineering Fortescue Truck

Oxfordshire-based Williams Advanced Engineering is to work with Perth, Australia-based Fortescue Metals Group to design, build, test and integrate a battery system to power an electric mining haul truck.

The project will involve the design and construction of a bespoke battery electric powertrain with the ability to regenerate power as the truck travels downhill. The battery will be built at Williams Advanced Engineering’s facility in Grove, Oxfordshire before being shipped to Perth, Australia for integration into a 240-tonne prototype haul truck for performance testing at Fortescue’s mining operations in the Pilbara, Western Australia.

To support the full implementation of a battery-electric haulage fleet, the project will also involve the development of a fast charging unit which will harness renewable energy from Fortescue’s Pilbara Energy Connect network.

For the project, WAE will be drawing on its high performance battery expertise, which lies at the core of the business, covering the Automotive, Motorsport, Marine, and Aerospace sectors. The company was the original supplier of batteries to the entire grid of FIA Formula E World Championship cars in 2014, a relationship that has been revived for 2022-23 season.

Craig Wilson, Managing Director, Williams Advanced Engineering said: “We are delighted to be working with Fortescue on this pioneering project that will help enable their future decarbonisation strategy, contributing to a reduction of carbon emissions in the heavy-duty mining sector. High performance battery systems are at the core of WAE. Both companies have a shared culture for innovation and rapid response and are committed to creating a sustainable future.’’

Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines said: “Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing the planet and Fortescue is committed to tackling this challenge head on through our industry leading target to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2040.

“This includes a 26 per cent reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions from existing operations from 2020 levels by 2030. With around a quarter of these emissions attributed to our mobile haul fleet, this represents a significant opportunity to drive our pathway to being diesel free. Fortescue’s history of developing and adopting innovation and technology has been key to the success of our business and in partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, we look forward to applying this technology-first strategy to our emissions reduction pathway.”

Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) is a global leader in the iron ore industry. Last year Fortescue announced an ambitious target to achieve net zero operational emissions by 2040, underpinned by a pathway to decarbonisation through the implementation of a range of practical initiatives including: