Janus Electric still investigating cause of West Gate Freeway truck fire

Janus Electric

Truck converter Janus Electric is still investigating why Cement Australia’s battery-powered Kenworth caught fire on the West Gate Freeway in Melbourne last week.

In its first statement since the November 28 incident, Janus said it is working with all parties involved with “full transparency” to investigate the incident and establish the root causes, and ensure “effective measures” are in place to prevent this from occurring again.

The results of the investigation are expected by early next week.

“In the interim, all Janus Electric batteries have had a safety and health check carried out to ensure this is an isolated incident,” the statement said.

“We remain confident in the integrity and safety of our product. The Janus Electric team stands by our products, customers, and community to ensure a safe transition to zero emissions and remains committed to ensuring safety is at the forefront of our battery solution.”

Big Rigs understands that the in-built warning system alerted the driver to an issue and they were able to exit the vehicle in plenty of time without injury.

“Janus Electric takes its commitment to safety for all very seriously. Our commitment to creating a more sustainable future for our planet and future generations remains core to Janus.”

Cement Australia did not return our request for comment.

Earlier this year the company was awarded a grant from the Victorian Government’s $5 million Commercial Sector Innovation Fund to lease 24 batteries and convert six diesel prime movers in the metropolitan Melbourne fleet to electric drive train.

Cement Australia will also install swap-out charging infrastructure with a minimum of three charging units.

They will then undertake a trial/demonstration stage for 12 months.

The West Gate fire is the second incident of its kind in recent months for Janus which converts diesel trucks into electric heavy-haulers powered by a quick-change battery system.

A fire destroyed the prototype Kenworth T403 at its Berkeley Vale base on the NSW Central Coast in July 2022, but general manager Lex Forsyth told us at the time he was confident the issue would be “engineered out”.

1 Comment

  1. That’s number two burnt to the ground. It’s not a good look for Janus electric. Many more fires and you would think that the authorities will have to take a closer look at this issue. If that was to happen in a bush area the consequences would be catastrophic. A fire like that would be impossible to extinguish and the losses of land wildlife and property would be devastating.

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