Australia’s first fleet of converted electric trucks, with ‘swap and go’ batteries

Australian company Janus Electric has unveiled what it says is its country’s first electric motor fleet, four converted heavy-duty haulers that can swap batteries and provide vehicle-to-grid services.

Janus Conversion Technologies is focusing on what it says is a sore spot in the industry: the need for all heavy-duty vehicles to have a major engine rebuild after a million miles.

The Janus fleet currently includes converted trucks from Kenworth, Freightliner, Mack, Volvo and Western Star.

We don’t need to buy new electric vehicles to electrify Australia’s freight network, our technology simply converts heavy-duty vehicles already on Australian roads.

Lex Forsyth, CEO.

Janus uses 630 kWh batteries which, depending on the size of the load, can provide around 400 km of range at a double B. It will have a 540 kW motor. The batteries are located within easy reach under the cabin and can be replaced in four minutes.

Janus will build a series of large battery charging and swapping stations in the trucking network, but says they can also be operated by private networks or existing gasoline suppliers.

These stations will have a capacity of approximately 38 MW, of which 20 MW will be fed to and from the grid.

Forsyth says charging and swapping stations will include grid-to-battery, battery-to-grid, and battery-to-battery technologies, for use when the truck tracking system decides to concentrate resources from multiple batteries into one or more batteries. .two in case of urgent need.

The batteries take around four hours to recharge, and Forsyth says that means the batteries will last longer on a slower charge (around four hours).

And he says it makes sense to swap the batteries, given that a “fast charge” of such a battery will require at least 1.2 MW. And he says it makes sense to have “interchangeable” batteries, given the rapid change in battery chemistry, which will offer higher efficiency and lower weight.

Forsyth says the economics of electric battery technology are already acceptable. In mile-per-mile terms, they’re one-third the price, about 33 cents per mile, compared to 96 cents per mile for diesel. Even with the cost of the batteries, the technology saves around a third compared to diesel.

In addition, once the batteries are depleted (for example, up to 70%), they can be reused for stationary storage.

Forsyth claims the batteries offer 85% efficiency, compared to 30% for diesel and 28% for hydrogen. He claims the conversion process is relatively simple and costs around $150,000.

Janus removes diesel engines, radiators, fuel fillers and tanks, as well as exhaust pipes and air intakes, and returns them to the fleet. And then they install their JCM conversion system. Trucks consume between 1.2 kWh and 1.8 kWh per kilometre, depending on their size.

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The company is raising $10 million ahead of a public offering and listing expected later this year.

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