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Swap-and-go prime mover battery innovators charge ahead

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NSW-based Janus Electric has entered into a collaboration agreement with Li-S Energy to develop and test lithium sulphur and/or lithium metal battery cells for use in electric-powered prime movers.

Janus Electric, one of the most talked about exhibitors at the last Brisbane Truck Show, has developed a ground-breaking system to convert diesel-powered prime mover fleets to electric power.

The company has also developed a proprietary exchangeable battery system that negates the need for lengthy recharge times by allowing batteries to be swapped out of vehicles at designated change-and-charge stations in a matter of minutes.

When used in conjunction with renewable energy, this would ultimately deliver a ‘carbon zero’ solution for electrifying Australia’s road transport fleet.

Each Janus Electric exchangeable battery pack currently uses conventional lithium-ion cells and has an energy capacity of 600KWh (each equivalent to six long range electric cars).

The objectives of the collaboration are to increase vehicle range between battery exchanges and to reduce the total weight of each battery pack.

Subject to successful testing, Li-S Energy being able deliver sufficient volume supply (and agreement of further commercial terms), Janus Electric intends to progressively phase out lithium- ion cells and purchase Li-S Energy cells to meet its projected requirements of 495,000 cells (total 247.5MWh) by the end of 2023, with additional demand growth expected in future years.

With an existing range of about 400 to 500km per charge, the batteries are estimated to cost about $550 for the trip, or about half the expense of using diesel.

Converting a truck now costs about $85,000 but the subsequent savings could see early adopters break even in about a year.

Li-S chief executive Lee Finniear said he and his team are excited to work on what he described as a “groundbreaking battery exchange system’’ set to shake up Australia’s trucking sector.

“It’s great to have Australian companies working together on such important technology which can accelerate the pathway to a zero carbon Australian transportation system,’’ he said.

Janus Electric general manager Lex Forsyth said he’s looking forward to working with Brisbane-based Li-S to develop an Australian solution for its quick-change battery packs.

“Using Australian technology in our products will further support Australian manufacturers and development of zero emission transport solutions, making them more accessible to heavy vehicle fleet operators, large and small,” said Forsyth.

For more on the progress of the Janus system and details on the increasing number of fleets taking part in early trials, make sure you grab a copy of the December 10 issue of Big Rigs, our last for 2021.

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