Enel X and SQM bring first electric truck to Chile to operate in large mining operations

Published on Tuesday, 19 October 2021

  • Chile's first electric mining truck will operate at SQM's sites in the Antofagasta Region. With an autonomy of 200 kilometers and a weight of 28 tons, the purpose of testing this technology is to progressively replace the large-tonnage diesel-powered trucks.
  • Each of these electric mining trucks can reduce CO2 emissions by about 12 tons per year.


Santiago, October 19, 2021 - Enel X and SQM are bringing to Chile the first heavy-duty electric-powered "E-Truck" that will provide services to big mining companies throughout the country. Operation of the vehicle will start during the first months of 2022 to test its autonomy, work capacity and operability.

Weighing 28-tons, this electric truck will run between SQM's sites in the Antofagasta Region and to power it, Enel X will install a high-power charger, the first of its kind in the country.

The new mining "E-Truck," which will arrive in Chile in December of this year, is expected to run 86 kilometers per section, from the Coya Sur plant, located in María Elena, to the port of Tocopilla. In total, the truck will travel an estimated monthly distance of more than 7,500 kilometers, thus reducing emissions of approximately 12 tons of CO2 per year.

The project seeks to test the autonomy of electric trucks in a mining setting and compare its work rate against that of a diesel-powered truck of similar characteristics. SQM will also test the new high-powered charging infrastructure and how the truck adapts to a normal operating schedule of a mining plant as well as how it withstands a corrosive saline environment.

Enel X and SQM jointly developed a financial leasing model to purchase the electric truck and to install a 150kW charging point that can fully power-up the vehicle in 3 hours. This infrastructure will be installed at the Coya Sur plant in María Elena and guarantee an autonomy of close to 200 kilometers.

According to José Miguel Berguño, SQM's Vice President of Nitrates Operations, "This initiative is part of our corporate sustainability plan, which includes various environmental goals such as becoming a carbon neutral company by 2040. This is an important milestone for us as one of the world leaders in lithium production, which is a key element electromobility development. It is also one of several initiatives that include installing an off-grid electric charging point at the Carmen lithium chemical plant and installing mobile electric maintenance workshops, which is a pioneering initiative in Chile's mining industry."

"Introducing the first large-tonnage electric mining truck marks a new milestone in Chile's electromobility development, which we are proud to lead along with our partners at SQM. This is an important step towards an increasingly cleaner energy grid and makes a major contribution to the decarbonization and electrification of the country's main productivity sector," said Karla Zapata, general manager of Enel X Chile.

SQM will use a Yutong truck with a load capacity of 28 tons and a 422kWh battery pack.

If the project is successful, we can consider using electric trucks on the Salar de Atacama - Planta Química de Litio Carmen route, which is the busiest road for lithium mining with 230 trucks in service. SQM could potentially replace 320 heavy-duty, diesel-powered trucks with electric vehicles at the company's different sites, 90 of which could be replaced within five years.

Enel X has intelligent charging solutions aimed at meeting different customer needs using various technologies that allow vehicle battery-charging in different formats, at different speeds and in different places. These are modular, scalable and turnkey solutions designed for individuals, companies, institutions and industries.

About Enel X

Enel X is the Enel Group's global business line that offers services to accelerate innovation and drive the energy transition. Enel X, a world leader in advanced energy solutions, manages demand response services, with some 6 GW of total capacity and 124 MW of storage capacity installed worldwide, as well as some 175,000 recharging points for public and private electric vehicles available globally.

About SQM

For 53 years, SQM has provided solutions from northern Chile, contributing to the progress of mankind through its 5 business lines. Its products are essential for the health, food, technology and clean energy industry that will change the world.

SQM is a company with a culture focused on excellence, security, sustainability and integrity. It strives to position itself as a leader in sustainability and to create a "green" brand through its constant efforts to responsibly manage natural resources, protect the environment, and to form close and trusting relationships with other local communities with shared social values.