Thousands of electric four-wheel drives equipped with smart software could enter the Australian mining sector as part of a deal between two climate firms.
Irish company CoolPlanet revealed plans to extend its partnership with Australia’s Climatech Zero on Monday, in a move that will see the firms offer electrified Toyota LandCruisers to the local mining industry.
The pair predicts more than 6000 of the low-emission vehicles could be in use by 2026.
The vehicles would join other electric vehicles tipped to be used on Australian mining sites after large orders were placed for converted Toyota HiLuxes earlier this year.
The climate-focused companies, which are set to appear at the International Mining and Resources Conference in Sydney on Tuesday, will share access to Huber Automotive’s converted Toyota LandCruisers.
The electric vehicles will use CoolPlanet’s autonomous vehicle operating system designed to increase safety.
CoolPlanet chairman Norman Crowley said the vehicles would play an important role in cutting carbon emissions from mining and protecting workers as vehicles played a role in 28 per cent of deaths suffered on mine sites.
“Mines will be able to eliminate diesel particulate matter and maximise vehicle safety,” Mr Crowley said.
“The extension of our partnership to the the mining sector is exciting and another significant milestone in ... driving sustainable solutions in industries that that are traditionally energy-intensive.”
The companies predicted they would deliver 200 electric vehicles to Australian firms next year, followed by 1200 vehicles in 2025, and 6000 LandCruisers in 2026.
Climatech Zero chief executive Peter O’Connell said the company, which was already working to decarbonise operations in five Australian mining firms, looked forward to tackling transport emissions.
The announcement comes months after Melbourne-based SEA Australia won thousands of orders from the mining industry after partnering with MEVCO to convert 8500 diesel utes into electric vehicles.
The firms are expected to produce and supply 2080 electric utes each year that can travel for up to 380 kilometres on a single charge and can be charged to 80 per cent in less than an hour.
The converted Toyota HiLux utes will be used by companies including Western Australia’s Mineral Resources.