ZERO Automotive, specialists in electrified light vehicles for the mining and resources sector, has unveiled its second-generation Toyota LandCruiser 79 Series-based ZED70 Ti in Western Australia this week. The significantly updated model boasts 50 per cent more power than the original and is reported to be the safest and toughest light commercial EV available to the mining industry. Based on the Toyota LandCruiser 79 Series, the model comes following five years of development in harsh underground conditions and was produced in “direct response to industry demand”, says Zero Automotive. Barminco, one of the world’s largest hard rock underground mining services companies, has signed on as the first customer to accept delivery of the Zero ZED70 Ti which will be leased via CarBon Leasing & Rentals. Some 200 examples of the ZED70 Ti will be added to its lease roster from the fourth quarter of 2024. “Mining operations across Australia are facing increasing pressure to transition their fleets to meet ESG targets and the Zero ZED70 Ti represents a new opportunity to do this in the light commercial space,” explained CarBon Leasing & Rentals CEO, Scott Gillespie. “We’ve already received a great deal of interest and look forward to deploying these innovative EVs next year to a range of customers.” Under the bonnet, the ZED70 Ti features a Toshiba 60kWh Lithium Titanate Oxide (LTO) drive battery, which is claimed to retain over 70 per cent of its capacity after 20,000 full-use cycles. The architecture features 22kW Level 2 on-board fast charging and is enabled for Level 3 DC ultra-fast charging, which with a 160kW charger, results in a charging time of less than 25min. The 3 Phase asynchronous electric motor is complete with regenerative braking, with a peak power of 200kW and a peak torque of 1200Nm. With an obvious focus on safety, the system features an isolator switch, manual service disconnect, a full battery management system, automatic electrical isolating contactors, multiple mechanical HV isolators, fast-acting fusible links, an insulation monitoring device, and an eBrake. All the vehicle’s critical functions are monitored by a GeoTab telematics platform. The vehicle’s design features Zero’s proprietary HEPS (Hazardous Environment Protection System) underbody armour protection, which is said to dramatically increase the longevity and safety of the vehicle’s chassis in underground applications. HEPS will also be available as an upgrade for current diesel-powered vehicles. Based on the single- or dual-cab Toyota LandCruiser 79 Series, the ZED70 Ti features many of the legacy systems that have given the model an outstanding reputation in the mining field, with items such as the transfer case, front and rear suspension, brakes, and rear differential carried over from Toyota. “Across the board, mining companies have a desire to lower their environmental impact, Zero Automotive has been working side by side with many in the industry to provide a solution that caters to the very specific needs of underground mining,” said Zero Automotive CEO, Joe Di Santo. “Following five years of development, and two years with prototype vehicles under test by Barminco and AusMinerals, we couldn’t be prouder to officially unveil the ZED70 Ti. “Underground mining is an incredibly tough environment for vehicles, and we know we have gone above and beyond to develop this ADR approved package that is up for the task.”