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Volvo Electric FL, courtesy of Volvo.

Clean Transport

Electric Truck Trials Down Under

How will the Volvo FL Electric and the Janus Freightliner stack up to the distances, heat, and dust of Australian conditions in the electric truck trials Down Under? Maybe I should also ask if it can drive underwater with all the recent floods.

The Volvo FL Electric is equipped with Volvo battery packs that have a total capacity of 265 kWh. The truck was tested over a 730 km route in temperatures above 35 degrees, through the city and up the Toowoomba range loaded to 15,000 kg. Coming down the range (6% decline), regen braking replenished the battery by 5%.

“Temperature is the enemy of battery performance in any vehicle. For our industry to go electric our customers need to know we’ve tried and tested our technology in adverse conditions rather than report contrived figures derived from testing in a controlled environment. And I’m extremely happy to see the results of this testing, which proves the FL Electric is a viable option for a range of urban distribution roles while being able to tolerate Australia’s harsh climate,” Paul Illmer, vice president technology and business development, explained.

“The test drives also included a 40-minute fast charge from 40 per cent battery capacity using a 150 kW DC charger in an effort to understand how opportunity charging may be integrated into an everyday transport operation.”

The 4×2 Volvo FL Electric has a gross vehicle weight of 16,000 kg and creates 130 kW of continuous power which is delivered to the rear wheels via a two-speed automated transmission. Depending on application, range can be up to 300 kilometres between charges. Charging times range from 11 hours (22 kW AC) to 2 hours (150 kW DC).

Customer deliveries of the Volvo FL Electric are anticipated to begin this year.

Electric Truck Trials Downunder

Janus-converted Freightliner Coronado.

Also being tested — and in even harsher conditions — is the Janus electric truck. Janus is a pioneer in the area of battery swapping for heavy haulage. The truck will be put in service in South Australia’s heat and dust working for Oz minerals.

“Three Australian companies are partnering on an ambitious world’s first trial to use battery electric trucks for heavy haulage across the long distances and harsh terrains of the Australian outback. Janus Electric, Qube and OZ Minerals are working together towards a Vision Electric future by applying their shared ingenuity to tackle the challenge of emissions footprint reduction in the heavy transport and resources industries. ‘Vision Electric will see the world’s largest electric truck put through its paces over a 12-month trial under some of the harshest conditions in the world.’ Lex Forsyth, Janus’ CEO.

“As part of this trial, a battery recharging and replacement station will be set up in South Australia at Port Augusta, approximately 300km from Adelaide. Once ready, the station will be used as a battery change over pit stop for the battery electric truck. It is expected that the battery changeover can be completed in the same time it takes for traditional refueling.”

You can read more about the revolutionary approach Janus is taking here. And here. In the meantime, keep on trucking!

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Written By

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].


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