The foundation for the relationship between WAE and Liebherr was laid in March 2022, when Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) acquired WAE as part of FMG’s journey to becoming an international renewable resource company.
In November 2020 Andrew Forrest—the founder of FMG—announced that his company would wholeheartedly support the development of zero emissions technology through the development of its new green energy enterprise, Fortescue Future Industries (FFI).
As part of FMG, WAE—an industry leader in the electrification and energy storage sectors—is working closely with FFI to support their passion for zero emissions and continue WAE’s outstanding work in battery technology.
In June 2022—shortly after FMG’s acquisition of WAE—FMG and Liebherr announced they were forming a partnership, with the intention of developing and supplying green mining trucks as a step towards decarbonising the mining sector.
Key to this partnership is Liebherr’s ability to work in conjunction with WAE and FFI to develop electric battery and fuel cell systems that will be integrated into Liebherr’s T 264 mining trucks. WAE’s extensive expertise in developing energy storage solutions for a wide range of sectors—including the automotive, aerospace, defence, and off highway vehicle industries—will be crucial in ensuring that this project is a success.
Dave Rawlins, Head of Engineering Technology, WAE said “We are delighted to be working on a strategic partnership with Liebherr to integrate zero emission drive systems into Liebherr products.
This partnership will enable customers, including FMG, to move towards net zero emissions through delivery and management of drive solutions across the complete product lifecycle.”
Bryant Ward—Managing Director of Liebherr’s Newport News factory—also spoke about the partnership between WAE and Liebherr, in particular the comradery between the two and the wider benefits of this partnership.
“Working with the WAE team has been a fantastic experience,” Ward said. “The teams between WAE and Liebherr work very well together and truly operate as one team.”
Ward continued, “Liebherr working with WAE helps to rapidly expand our development capabilities and accelerate bringing products to market. Also, bringing the electrical energy specialists together with the truck specialists enables us to produce a high quality and high-performance product for the mining industry.”
Liebherr’s partnership with both WAE and FMG became a key part of Liebherr’s Zero Emission Mining Program. Liebherr’s trolley trucks and electric mining excavators already provide low and zero emission solutions for customers. However, Liebherr is continuing to work within the Zero Emission Mining Program so that they can provide complete mining solutions for dozing, loading, and hauling—free of fossil fuels—by 2030.
Liebherr says that working with Tier 1 companies like WAE and FMG will ensure that the deadline of 2030 is met and that these solutions will lead the industry in both technological innovation and cost efficiency.
While at Bauma, Ward discussed Liebherr’s efforts in the zero emission space with customers and professionals within the mining industry.
“The response from customers at Bauma was tremendously positive,” Ward reflected. “I personally received several comments from customers and industry peers that Liebherr has an advanced and clear strategy for moving forward with ZEM (zero emission mining) products.”
During his conversations with customers at Bauma, Ward discovered that many are aware of the urgency to adopt newer, greener ways of doing things. “Many customers know that they want or need to move to ZEM products but aren’t sure which direction to take,” Ward said.
“With Liebherr having a clear ZEM strategy, they seem to have a high level of confidence that Liebherr will achieve its targets and therefore are very interested in considering Liebherr for future purchases of equipment.”
Supply of the green mining trucks being developed by Liebherr, WAE, and FFI is expected to commence after the conclusion of a two-year joint development period between the three companies.
There is already significant interest from other mining companies in the solutions that FFI, WAE, and Liebherr are developing. Once the initial field deliveries of the zero emission T 264 trucks have been made to FMG, it is intended to offer these products to more customers.