Bendigo-based company Safescape has unveiled the Bortana EV, a prototype electric vehicle for use in the mining industry.

Designed specifically to face the tough conditions of the mining environment, the Bortana EV is a robust and rugged vehicle equipped with advanced electric technology. Unveiled at a launch event following the Austmine Conference in Brisbane in May, the Bortana EV is built using the chassis from an Agrale Marruá. The Marruá is a resilient four-wheel-drive utility vehicle from Brazilian manufacturer Agrale, traditionally used in the Brazilian army and mining industry. Safescape selected the Marruá chassis for the new Bortana EV due to its corrosion-resistant body and ability to withstand the harshest of conditions.

The Bortana EV is the result of a collaboration between Safescape and 3ME Technology with support from METS Ignited, the Industry Growth Centre for the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector. METS Ignited provided $500,000 toward the project under its Collaborative Project Funds in 2018.

3ME is a Newcastle-based company dedicated to developing heavy-duty e-mobility solutions. The electric technology for the Bortana EV features a battery with advanced opportunistic on-board charging capability.

According to Safescape Managing Director Steve Durkin, the Bortana EV is a new-age, advanced vehicle that will change the way mine fleets operate: “The Bortana EV will offer the right mix of capability and longevity in the mining environment. The transition from diesel-powered vehicles to battery electric vehicles in underground mining provides considerable benefits, not only because of reduced maintenance and higher operating efficiency”.

Underground mines in particular will benefit from the Bortana EV, says Durkin.

“Electric vehicles have no tailpipe emissions and have considerably less heat emissions than diesel powered vehicles,” he explains. “This has a positive impact on the working environment underground. We believe that the Bortana EV will have a lower total cost of ownership than any other comparable production vehicle in the mining environment.”

The Bortana EV will begin a three-month trial at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville Gold Mine in Central Victoria.