Fuso eCanters answer the call for ambitious electrification project

Team Global Express is putting together a fleet of 60 battery electric delivery vehicles and associated charging infrastructure to service its Express Parcels division at the depot in Bungarribee, NSW – in what will be Australia’s largest electric truck fleet to date.

The $44.3 million project will include the purchase of 24 Fuso eCanter light rigids, 36 electric Volvo medium rigids and all that’s required to keep them going.

Team Global Express will invest $24.1 million towards its ‘Depot of the Future’, with a further $20.1 million in funding provided by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), on behalf of the Australian Government.

The transport and logistics operations of Team Global Express span across Australia and New Zealand, with over 13,000 delivery vehicles in the fleet.

The company’s decarbonisation strategy will see one-third of its western Sydney fleet transition to battery electric vehicles and operate under a ‘back-to-base’ model, with the trucks travelling from distribution centres to customers in urban areas, then returning to the depot for charging.

Fuso’s eCanter is the first electric truck from an original equipment manufacturer in Australia and the only electric truck in its class to feature a range of active safety features – and so it was seen as a perfect fit for the task.

These eCanters are part of a five-year Team Global Express electric truck trial that also includes the installation of 63 chargers on site and a large battery system to store energy generated by a 400kW/h solar power generation system at the Bungarribee depot.

The near-silent Fuso eCanter is currently in operation with leading brands including Australia Post, Bunnings, Coles, Centurion and Toohey’s.

Daimler Truck Australia Pacific president and CEO, Daniel Whitehead, says the Team Global Express project is a great example of carbon-reduction in action.

“We are thrilled to partner with Team Global Express for this exciting project, which represents a dramatic step forward on the journey towards zero emission freight transport in Australia,” he said.

“This ambitious initiative shows what our industry can achieve with positive government policies and agencies like ARENA. We have no doubt this ground-breaking project will provide inspiration for many operators in Australia and are pleased the Fuso eCanter has been recognised as the best truck for this role,” Whitehead continued.

Team Global Express Group CEO, Christine Holgate, added that the announcement of the electric truck trial represents an important milestone.

“Today is an important step toward progressing Australia’s pathway to reduce scope 1 emissions and secure a net zero future. This is the first project of its scale in Australian logistics, as such we are in a unique position to work closely with ARENA to share the knowledge we gain and provide this vital information for the benefit of the entire transport and logistics sector,” she explained.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said that he was looking forward to seeing the project get underway. “We’re excited to be working with Global Express in switching a significant portion of its fleet to electric vehicles at its Bungarribee depot. We expect the project will provide valuable insights into the costs and operational aspects of transitioning its wider fleet to zero emissions vehicles. Importantly, our goal is for the heavy vehicle industry to learn from this project as others consider their transition pathway.

“Operating a fleet of battery electric heavy vehicles will help to address some of the key barriers to adoption, including overcoming the higher upfront purchase price, and uncertainty of integrating electric vehicles into existing operations at scale. Understanding these barriers will help to build market confidence around EV technology and show that the transition to heavy electric vehicles is possible.”

Team Global Express sustainability director, Heather Bone, added that the electric truck trial has come about thanks to the company’s determination to drive down emissions.

“Our team is fully committed to the electric truck trial and are thrilled that it has come to fruition,” she said. “Our customers are demanding greener solutions and we are delighted to be able to deliver actions like this.”

Team Global Express already has real-world experience running the Fuso eCanter, with three units currently operating in its New Zealand fleet.

The Fuso eCanter is designed for local distribution in high-density urban areas and uses six liquid-cooled lithium ion batteries with 82.8kW/h of electricity that feed a permanent magnet synchronous motor. Power output is rated at 135kW, while 390Nm of torque can be delivered the moment the accelerator pedal is pressed.

The eCanter is the only electric truck in its class to feature active safety features. It comes standard with Advanced Emergency Braking System (AEBS) and Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), which are increasingly important for leading companies and government bodies with a firm focus on health and safety.

The eCanter is part of the Daimler Truck commitment to ensure all new vehicles in Europe, North America and Japan are “tank-to-wheel” CO2-neutral by 2039.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks will begin local validation trials for the fully electric eActros and eEconic models next year, with an initial batch of six test trucks in Australia and two in New Zealand.

All Daimler Truck electric vehicles are engineered to meet Australian design rules and no PBS permits are required to operate them on public roads.

Fuso trucks feature diesel engines that align with or undercut the stringent Euro 6 emissions standards, which will not be mandated in Australia until 2024, as standard for medium duty Fighter, heavy duty Shogun and the Rosa light bus.

Freightliner’s Cascadia was the first conventional truck in Australia with the US GHG 17 emission rating (equivalent to Euro 6 under upcoming local emission standards), while Mercedes-Benz led the way by introducing Euro 6 on every single Actros model in 2016.

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