Charge-and-change electric truck highways taking shape


Janus Electric is hoping to have prime mover charge and change stations on all the major east coast freight routes by early 2024.

Earlier last month, Janus Electric general manager Lex Forsyth said he was aiming to have sites at Port Macquarie and Prestons at the south end of Sydney on the M7 by June.

“And then we’ve got other facilities we’re just waiting on at Byron Bay and Grafton,” said Forsyth.

“We’ve got a customer at Grafton that wants to put a charge station in their own facility for their own trucks, but they’re looking at opening that up to the network.

“Then we’ve got a location with one of the energy providers on the highway at Byron Bay just off the interchange where potentially we can get the first charging stations up and going to complete that Brisbane to Sydney network.

By early January next year, Forsyth is also hoping to “roll out” the Hume Highway con- nection as well.

“We’re on target for that. We’ve got two charge stations going into Melbourne; one going into Port of Melbourne and one into Truganina so they’ll be operational by March and that completes the bottom end for Victoria.

“Then we’ve got two sites on the Hume; one near Tarcutta and the other one’s going to be near Benalla, just on the outskirts of Melbourne.”

The other section of highway on Janus’s radar is the stretch from Adelaide to Port Augusta.

“We’ve got a customer in Adelaide in Gillman with 100-plus trucks on order that will be operating around Adelaide,” said Forsyth.

The converted prime movers can travel at an average of 400-600km on each charge, depending on what the rig is towing, with the two batteries swapped out in as little as three minutes. Batteries can be leased to transport operators on a user-pay basis.

Forsyth said there are still a few red tape issues to surmount around ADR but it’s slowly getting removed and it’s not hampering Janus in its sales and uptake.

The company recently partnered with CHL Logistics in an Australian-first trial of a converted Western Star tipper for Holcim, recharging at Hemmant in Brisbane.

“There’s a place for hydrogen but I don’t think it’s in road transport,” Forsyth added.

“There’s a lot of theoretical and potential data but nothing really in practice, and the big issue with hydrogen is that it does have range issues and with its pulling capacity as well so it’ll be interesting to see once that technology gets going.

“It’s going to be a challenging space.”

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