Cover story: XCMG E700

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle

Etrucks’ first 50-tonne off-road mining truck is about to clock up 18 months service

Talk to most people in the transport industry even as recently as a couple of years ago about commonplace use of electric trucks and you’d probably be told that it won’t happen anytime soon.

But time moves quickly and here we are in 2021 and Etrucks® in Penrose is already proving the pundits wrong, with their first 50-tonne off-road mining truck about to clock up 18 months service in Dunedin.


Although the XCMG E300 Series, with a GVM ranging from six to 10 tonnes, has been proving its worth in the rubbish removal industry and on other short haul routes, a few people had been treating the viability of heavy EVs seriously in New Zealand.

Talk to Etrucks owner/director Ross Linton and he’ll tell you that he’s still only talking about relatively short hauls for the big rigs at this current point in time, but the tide of change is rapidly on the rise.

He explained that although ways of charging a battery pack to full capacity more quickly are currently in play, the real game changer for Etrucks he says, is their unique lift-off battery pack, which can be swapped over with a fully charged unit in under five minutes by way of a specially designed gantry system.

Drew Lloyd, national sales manager for Etrucks, gave a quick walkthrough of the swap-over procedure whereby six dog lock secure fittings are undone, releasing the 2.5-tonne battery pack from the chassis before the gantry crane can lift the spent battery off and replace it with the freshly-charged unit.The battery pack sits behind the cab and is roughly the size of a sleeper cab. Ross likened the principle of battery-swapping on the truck to the process of changing a battery on your drill or grinder or perhaps to swapping your empty LPG gas cylinder for a fresh one, only on a much larger scale.

Ross at the wheel on the streets of Auckland

While this unfamiliar practice for refuelling a truck may seem a little strange upon its first encounter, it’s just a case of resetting one’s way of thinking.

We can all remember thinking what an extra hassle adding the occasional fill of ADBlue was going to be? These days, nobody gives it a second thought.

Drew says that as more Etrucks enter service in New Zealand, more changeover stations will be installed along major routes, thus making long haul a more viable proposition, while Ross says the first robotic swap station will be installed probably in Auckland early next year.

He points out that purchasers of the truck also have the option of buying their own battery pack and charging system.

Ross told DOW that an XCMG E700 with a fully charged battery has a range of between 140 and 160km assuming a 50% loading in metropolitan areas, allowing for 15–20% residual power to be left in the battery.

To explain the 50% loading scenario described by Ross, take the example of a prime mover operating from say a wharf in the city and travels with a fully loaded container on a trip out to the likes of Penrose (a distance of about 15km) and then returns to the city unloaded to collect the next container.

Assuming a one-hour turnaround with a truck working around the clock and each driver takes their mandatory driver breaks, it’s reasonable to calculate that a truck could complete a 24-hour shift with approximately five battery changes or say one hour’s downtime for refuelling (battery swapping) in a 24-hour period.

With a bit of careful planning, some of the swaps could be carried out to coincide with driver breaks.

The manufacturer

It’s not like looking under the cab of a diesel truck; just a mass of electronic switching gear

Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group Co Ltd (XCMG) was founded in 1943 and is the largest manufacturer of construction equipment in China; its automated heavy truck manufacturing facility can produce a heavy truck every four minutes.

On the day of the DOW’s visit, a team of technicians were carrying out checks and making final adjustments to the tractor unit prior to taking it on a road test, towing a semi-trailer.

Ross explained that while the power-regeneration part of the equation has been able to be calculated on a loaded E300 truck, to date, the exact amount of ‘regen’ created by a loaded E700 truck and semi-trailer unit descending a steep hill has been a matter of conjecture, but that these figures will become available once those tests have been completed.

In the cab

The curved cockpit keeps all the switches within easy reach

The E700 boasts all of the features expected by the modern-day driver, with the comfortable seats providing good lateral and lumbar support for both driver and passenger; also, the seats are fitted with integral seat belts.

The curved cockpit-style dashboard keeps all the necessary buttons within the driver’s easy reach, with a nice big analogue and digital clock.

All-round vision from the cab is excellent, and there are enough exterior mirrors for the driver to see what’s behind and below.

The only possible niggle that could arise as the truck ages might be any rattle that develops, no matter how small, because the truck’s so damn quiet on the road, all you can hear is the wind rushing through the exterior sun visor.’

Riding in the truck with no engine noise is a weird experience that’ll bring back memories for anyone who’s old enough to have experienced riding a trolley bus, only without those ugly poles overhead.

Axle configurations

Front suspension is conventional steel springs while the rear is adjustable airbag

Initially, the battery swap E700 trucks will be offered in 6x4 and 8x4 configurations, and when Ross was asked when we’re likely to see an E500 Series on our roads, he suggested that that won’t happen until 2022. But in the meantime, when you’re out and about in Auckland, keep an eye out for the big white E700 with its bright green signwriting.

Spare parts availability

Initially, Etrucks intends retaining one complete truck in stock as a potential source of spares to ensure immediate availability.


Savings in the region of $100 per 1000km for an E700 tractor unit in 6x4 configuration are guaranteed in the immediate future at least, as per the New Zealand Government’s recent announcement, stating that it won’t be applying road user charges to electric trucks until 2025.

Writer’s note: Sorry folks, although the tractor unit will be RUC exempt for the time stated, road tax will however apply to the trailer.

XCMG E700 specifciations

GCM declared  50,000kg
Tractor tare 10,650kg
Power 281kWh with battery swap capability
Charge time 120kW DC

Approx. 2 hours

Charge time 7kW AC

Approx. 35 hours

Battery swap time

Around 5 minutes

Max speed 90kph
Rated power/peak power 240/360kW
Rated torque/max torque 1000/2800Nm
Transmission 6-speed auto tiptronic function
Rear suspension Airbags
Brakes Disc braking all round (ABS 8)
Turntable height 1250mm
King pin 50mm

For more information, contact 0800 526 339 or visit

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