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On a recent trip to China where I met with several micromobility companies, I was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon with the electric motorcycle maker Tromox. The team gave me the chance to be one of the first Westerners to ever take a test ride on Tromox’s new MC10 TrailX.

Ahead of the bike’s upcoming US market release, I can already tell you that this thing is a blast to ride and is likely to send shockwaves through the Sur Ron and Talaria communities for its combination of performance and packaging, offering high power riding in a small-format bike.

Tromox brought me out to a motocross track to test the MC10 TrailX, which is already beyond the target scope for this bike.

Keep in mind, this is not a dirt bike. Sure, it’s got a powerful 12.5 kW peak-rated motor and four-bar rear suspension matched by an inverted front fork. But this bike isn’t really intended for flying through the air; it’s meant for riding trails and off-road exploring. (There’s also a street version designed for commuting at speeds up to 90 km/h or 56 mph, but I tested the off-road model).

So it seems the thinking was that if it could handle a jump park, it could handle just about any more “normal” type of riding that recreational and enthusiast riders are likely to put it through on local trails or backwoods exploring.

And by the way, this is one of those test rides that you’re definitely going to want to see, not just read about. Check out my first ride video below, then continue on for the rest of the article!

So there I was, a street rider, all strapped in and ready to roll in unfamiliar territory.

To be fair, I actually already own a Sur Ron, and it’s an awesome bike for backyard hooliganism. But I’m not a motocross rider by any stretch of the imagination.

If either of my tires leaves the earth on a normal day, something has officially gone off-script. I’m a street rider, through and through, more comfortable rubbing elbows with semi-trucks than getting sideways against a soft berm. But I’m not going to say no to a chance to get down and dirty with a bike like this, lack of experience be damned.

And so as the first drop into the track loomed before me, I said “screw it” and rolled on the throttle.

The bike feels only slightly larger than my Sur Ron, but the power is much more potent. It packs around twice the peak power and it comes on quickly. In fact, I didn’t use full power mode very much since I could easily spin the rear tire in that loose dirt.

I’m not sure what the actual range is, but keeping the bike in a lower power mode offers plenty of dirt-slinging torque while helping increase the run time. Though with a pair of 72V 30Ah batteries, it has nearly twice the battery capacity of my Sur Ron anyway, so I wasn’t worried about run time. It’s like carrying a spare battery to the trails with you, except that it’s already loaded in next to your first battery and connected – no stopping and swapping required.

Someone had played around on the bike before I showed up, and yet even after all of my riding, the bike still had around half a charge remaining when I left at the end of the day.

As I mentioned, I’m not a motocross rider and so I have no idea how to hit jumps. I know just enough to be aware that there is a proper way to do it, and that what I was doing wasn’t it.

After timing a few wrong and landing on my front tire with enough force to throw my chest way further out over the bars than it has any business doing, I decided I should probably stick to my original wheels-on-the-ground approach.

But the good news is that I can tell you the suspension felt great even when I asked it to do things a better rider wouldn’t have needed it to do.

Whoops

Even trying to keep the rubber side down, I could still enjoy the hill-climbing power of that central motor, which whipped me up the climbs as if they were flat ground. I was sure the speed would noticeably suffer when climbing up the jump ramps more slowly to avoid going airborne, but the Tromox MC10 just wanted to keep climbing. I was amazed that the power didn’t seem to taper off.

If your normal stomping grounds include lots of hill climbing, this is the bike to do it on.

On the berms, I definitely wasn’t going horizontal, but I tried to lean in as much as I comfortably could. The bike felt confidence-inspiring, hugging the bumps and ruts as I whipped around.

The track was quite rutted out when exiting several of the sharp turns, likely because it had been raining off and on the entire time. But the suspension soaked up those ruts and kept me on my line nicely.

As I mentioned, this type of riding is beyond the scope of what the MC10 TrailX is actually designed for. With a 90 km/h (56 mph) top speed and 4.3 kWh of battery, it’s really more of a trail bike designed for fire roads, single track, dirt paths, and other adventure-style riding.

The way its suspension handled the track showed me that trail riding would be a piece of cake for the MC10. And with the power it had for climbing up steep jumps, it will have no problem with real-world hill climbing, which is likely to be significantly less steep than what it was doing on such loose terrain I was riding on.

Combined with the comfortable sizing and refreshing new styling that we haven’t seen in this class. of bike before, I think the MC10 TrailX is likely to do well with recreational and enthusiast riders.

It’s not yet clear what the pricing will be when it enters the US market, and that will, of course, be the deciding factor for how well it will sell compared to all of the Sur Rons and Talarias already on the market. But just in a performance-based challenge, I can tell you it’s going to have no problem against the usual suspects.

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There’s a big problem with McClaren’s ‘World’s most powerful trail-legal’ electric mountain bike

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There's a big problem with McClaren's 'World's most powerful trail-legal' electric mountain bike

McClaren, better known for its high-performance sports cars, has just announced a series of new electric bikes, including what the company calls the “World’s most powerful trail-legal” electric mountain bike.

The new carbon fiber e-bike models include two full-suspension electric mountain bikes known as the Extreme 600 and the Extreme 250, as well as two hardtail eMTBs known as the Sport 600 and the Sport 250.

Both bikes feature mid-drive motors, with the power rating matching the monikers to offer 600 and 250 Watts of power, respectively.

The lower power 250W versions are likely intended to meet regulations for the European market, where stricter e-bike laws limit most models to 250 watts of power, or roughly one-third of a horsepower.

The 600W models take advantage of looser regulations in markets that allow more power, such as in North America.

The only problem is that McClaren’s marketing line of being the “world’s most powerful trail-legal electric mountain bikes” is, at best, misleading, and at worst, patently false.

The issue is that for European e-bikes, 250W is the legal limit for both on-road and trail usage. So if you’ve got a 250W e-bike, you’ve basically tied every single other e-bike on the market for highest power. Of course, none of the 250W e-bikes rolling around today actually put out only 250W of power. They all sneak by with higher peak power ratings, but the continuous power ratings are all identical. Thus, claiming to have the world’s most powerful trail-legal electric mountain bike is a bit like claiming to sell the world’s tallest 6-foot ladder.

When you look at the US market, it’s even more problematic. E-bikes in the US fall under various regulations depending on the state, but most areas use a 3-class system. And to make things simple, all three classes allow up to 750 watts of power.

If you’re on private property, it doesn’t really matter how much power your e-bike has. ‘Murica! But if you’re on public property, like public roads or trails on state land, you’re likely going to be limited to that 750W of power in most places. Thus, claiming that a 600W e-bike is the world’s most powerful trail-legal e-bike is obviously quite problematic in the land of 750W e-bikes.

If we are to consider peak power, McClaren claims that its 600W mid-drive motor actually peaks at 852W. That’s impressive, but still below the peak power of dozens of e-bike models in the US that peak in the four digits.

What McClaren might be referring to is torque, and the 600W version of their new e-bike does make an impressive claim of 161 Nm, one of the highest figures in the industry. But it takes more than being “one of the highest” to park at the top of the podium. For example, other trail-legal e-bikes, such as Optibike’s Class 1 RIOT eMTB, claim 190 Nm of torque.

But marketing untruths aside, we might as well take a look at what McClaren is offering. We’re already here, as it were.

For a starting price of just US $7,950, you can throw a leg over the Sport 250, the lower-power hardtail model. That ticket price gets you entry to a carbon fiber frame and a 250W mid-drive motor with a claimed 121 Nm of torque. That’s pretty darn torquey, though it still doesn’t surpass several other mid-drive e-bikes we’ve seen.

Garnished with a 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain and SRAM G2 RE quad-piston hydraulic disc brakes, the bike certainly looks ready for action. The 36V battery isn’t huge at just 540 Wh, but the bike is intended for pedalers, so it’s likely to still offer good range on the trails. This isn’t a motorcycle in a bike frame like many we’ve seen.

Rounding out the major components are a RockShox Pike Rush RC fork, a color display embedded in the carbon fiber handlebars, and a carbon wheelset to match, complete with a set of Pirelli Scorpion Enduro M 29×2.4″ tires.

The bike comes in three sizes and offers a two-year warranty.

And the prices only go up from there. Upgrading to the more powerful Sport 600 bumps the price to US $8,950.

The full-suspension bikes are even pricier, with the Extreme 250 coming in at US $10,950 and the Extreme 600 topping the lineup at US $11,950.

To be fair, you do get the more premium wireless 12-speed SRAM XX Eagle AXS transmission on the higher-end model, as well as a wireless dropper post and a nicer RockShox Lyrik Rush RC fork, but that’s still a pretty penny.

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Caterpillar is putting MASSIVE 240-ton electric haul truck to work in Vale mine

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Caterpillar is putting MASSIVE 240-ton electric haul truck to work in Vale mine

Mining company Vale is turning to Caterpillar to provide this massive, 240-ton battery-electric haul truck in a bid to slash carbon emissions at its mines by 2030.

Caterpillar and Vale have signed an agreement that will see the Brazilian mining company test severe-duty battery electric mining trucks like the 793 BEV (above), as well as V2G/V2x energy transfer systems and alcohol-powered trucks. The test will help Vale make better equipment choices as it works to achieve its goals of reducing direct and indirect carbon emissions 33% by 2030 and eliminating 100% of its net emissions by 2050.

If that sounds weird, consider that most cars and trucks in Brazil run on either pure ethyl alcohol/ethanol (E100) or “gasohol” (E25).

“We are developing a portfolio of options to decarbonize Vale’s operations, including electrification and the use of alternative fuels in the mines. The most viable solutions will be adopted,” explains Ludmila Nascimento, energy and decarbonization director Vale. “We believe that ethanol has great potential to contribute to the 2030 target because it is a fuel that has already been adopted on a large scale in Brazil, with an established supply network, and which requires an active partnership with manufacturers. We stand together to support them in this goal.”

Vale will test a 240-ton Cat 793 battery-electric haul truck at its operations in Minas Gerais, and put energy transfer solutions to a similar tests at Vale’s operations in Pará over the next two-three years. Caterpillar and Vale have also agreed to a joint study on the viability of a dual-fuel (ethanol/diesel) solution for existing ICE-powered assets.

Vale claims to be the world’s largest producer of iron ore and nickel, and says it’s committed to an investment of between $4 billion to $6 billion to meet its 2030 goal.

Cat 793 electric haul truck

During its debut in 2022, the Cat 793 haul truck was shown on a 4.3-mile test course at the company’s Tucson proving grounds. There, the 240-ton truck was able to achieve a top speed of over 37 mph (60 km/h) fully loaded. Further tests involved the loaded truck climbing a 10% grade for a full kilometer miles at 7.5 mph before unloading and turning around for the descent, using regenerative braking to put energy back into the battery on the way down.

Despite not giving out detailed specs, Caterpillar reps reported that the 793 still had enough charge in its batteries for to complete more testing cycles.

Electrek’s Take

Caterpillar-electric-mining-truck
Cat 793 EV at 2022 launch; via Caterpillar.

Electric equipment and mining to together like peanut butter and jelly. In confined spaces, the carbon emissions and ear-splitting noise of conventional mining equipment can create dangerous circumstances for miners and operators, and that can lead to injury or long-term disability that’s just going to exacerbate a mining operation’s ability to keep people working and minerals coming out of the ground.

By working with companies like Vale to prove that forward-looking electric equipment can do the job as well as well as (if not better than) their internal combustion counterparts, Caterpillar will go a long way towards converting the ICE faithful.

SOURCES | IMAGES: Caterpillar, Construction Equipment, and E&MJ.

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Argonne Nat’l Lab is spending big bucks to study BIG hydrogen vehicles

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Argonne Nat'l Lab is spending big bucks to study BIG hydrogen vehicles

Argonne National Laboratory is building a new research and development facility to independently test large-scale hydrogen fuel cell systems for heavy-duty and off-road applications with funding from the US Department of Energy.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is hoping Argonne Nat’l Lab’s extensive fuel cell research experience, which dates back to 1996, will give it unique insights as it evaluates new polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell systems ranging from 150 to 600 kilowatts for use in industrial vehicle and stationary power generation applications.

The new Argonne test facility will help prove (or, it should be said, disprove) the validity of hydrogen as a viable fuel for transportation applications including heavy trucks, railroad locomotives, marine vessels, and heavy machines used in the agriculture, construction, and mining industries.

“The facility will serve as a national resource for analysis and testing of heavy-duty fuel cell systems for developers, technology integrators and end-users in heavy-duty transportation applications including [OTR] trucks, railroad locomotives, marine vessels, aircraft and vehicles used in the agriculture, construction and mining industries,” explains Ted Krause, laboratory relationship manager for Argonne’s hydrogen and fuel cell programs. “The testing infrastructure will help advance fuel cell performance and pave the way toward integrating the technology into all of these transportation applications.”

The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) of DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is dedicating about $4 million to help build the new Argonne facility, which is set to come online next fall.

Electrek’s Take

Medium-sized Hydrogen FC excavator concept; via Komatsu.

It’s going to be hard to convince me that the concentrated push for a technology as inefficient as hydrogen fuel cells has more to do with any real consumer or climate benefit than it does keeping the throngs of people it will take to manufacture, capture, transport, store, house, and effectively dispense hydrogen gainfully employed through the next election cycle.

As such, while case studies like the hydrogen combustion-powered heavy trucks that have been trialed at Anglo American’s Mogalakwena mine since 2021 (at top) and fuel cell-powered concepts like Komatsu’s medium-sized excavator (above) have proven that hydrogen as a fuel can definitely work on a job site level while producing far fewer harmful emissions than diesel, I think swappable batteries like the ones being shown off by Moog Construction and Firstgreen have a far brighter future.

Speaking of Moog, we talked to some of the engineers being their ZQuip modular battery systems on a HEP-isode of The Heavy Equipment Podcast a few months back. I’ve included it, below, in case that’s something you’d like to check out.

SOURCES | IMAGES: ANL, Komatsu, and NPROXX.

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