In all honesty, how do you feel about the surge in the popularity of the electric vehicle? Sure, they’ve been posting some pretty impressive mpg numbers lately and the industry’s golden boy, Tesla Motors, seems to be in the news every week to unveil their latest technological breakthrough. But for much of its storied history, many motorists have judged the electric vehicle to be a lesser machine than their fossil fuel quaffing counterparts. Is there something inherently “unmanly” about driving a car or truck that isn’t powered by plant and animal matter that decomposed millions of years ago?
I bring this up not to further fuel the debate, but because until recently, I may have been guilty of not giving EVs the props they deserved. Turns out, the largest, most powerful truck in the world just happens to get it’s power from the same form of energy that powers your children’s toys. That’s right, the largest truck in the world runs on electricity.
Meet the GVW BelAZ 75710
Granted, the name leaves something to be desired (given its size and the auto industry’s penchant for coming up with interesting vehicular names, I think calling it something like Everest would be appropriate) but that doesn’t change the fact that this truck is one impressive specimen.
The power plant that resides within this beast consists of four Siemens electric traction motors – each able to produce 1,800 hp. The electricity that drives the motors is produced by two generators, each of which are in turn powered by twin 16-cylinder diesel engines.
The BelAZ is over 20m long, about 10m wide, and 8m high; giving it similar dimensions to a decent sized office building. On top of the 360 tons that it weighs on its own, the BelAZ can haul a payload up to 450 tons, meaning this behemoth exceeds the capacity of other gargantuan dump trucks by a whopping 25%.
The tires, of which there are eight, have each been designed to support up to 100 tons.
I can admit when I am wrong – just ask my girlfriend. Never again will I doubt the performance of a electric powered vehicle.