Who says heavy-duty EVs won’t work? 170-tonne, 620 kWh battery-electric truck hits the road in Australia

The next time some troll insists that EVs are only suitable for small vehicles, you might send ‘em a picture of this behemoth.

Janus Electric, a startup based in New South Wales, Australia, has partnered with mining giant OZ Minerals and logistics provider Qube to trial an electric triple road train.

The converted Volvo FH16 8×6 prime mover delivers 720 hp and 2,500 Nm of torque. It sports 620 kWh of battery capacity and a Volvo 12-speed gearbox. The monster truck is now at work carting the equivalent of three shipping containers of copper concentrate from the OZ Minerals Carrapateena mine to the Whyalla port, 165 km away.

The EV will make use of a purpose-built charging and battery-swap station at Port Augusta, and is expected to get 200-400 km of range. Janus says a battery swap can be completed in the same time it takes to refuel a legacy vehicle.

Initially the truck will do two to three rotations on the day shift, and it is expected to be running 24/7 once drivers are trained and up to speed.

“It’ll be towing a triple road train with three tri-axle trailers and two tri-dollies behind it, so grossing out at about 160 tonnes, the equivalent of what diesel vehicles are carrying,” Janus Electric CEO Lex Forsyth told Big Rigs. “It’s the heaviest-rated on-road electric truck in the world.”

“For the governments who have all being drinking the hydrogen Kool-Aid, to be able to see that there’s a 170-tonne-rated tri-drive prime mover that will tow a triple road train is just starting to dispel some of those myths around battery-electric vehicles,” said Forsyth.

The cost of converting diesel trucks to Janus Electric technology ranges from $150,000 to $200,000, depending on the spec of the vehicle, said Forsyth, adding that operators can expect to save between 10 and 30 percent in costs compared to a diesel-powered equivalent.

“It’ll vary on range and operating conditions and what you’re towing and rolling resistance, those sorts of things. It’s going to be very much a case of horses for courses.”

Forsyth said Janus is already fielding inquiries from other companies in the region. “I think we could easily see somewhere between 50 to 100 trucks operating in South Australia using this network in the Upper Spencer Gulf.”

Forsyth and Janus have recently tested other heavy-duty EVs, including a converted Western Star tipper in Brisbane and an electric logging truck at Fennel Forestry in Mount Gambier.

Forsyth hopes to establish a Brisbane-to-Sydney network of “charge-and-change” stations for electric trucks and B-double combinations by the end of 2023.

“We’re starting to step into our stride now,” said Forsyth. “We know we’ve got the technology and the know-how and the will and the ability to deliver, and this is just demonstrating what we can do here in Australia, leading the world in this technology and engineering across the transport sector.”

Source: Big Rigs

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