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Janus Co-Founders Lex Forsyth & Bevan Dooley

Clean Transport

Converted Electric Semi Trucks — Getting More & More Popular

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With 140 confirmed orders, Janus Electric is rolling to success. After writing about its converted cement truck, I decided to reach out to Lex Forsyth (General Manager, Janus Electric) and ask how the company was going. There is good news and sad (for Australia) news. The good news is that the order book keeps on growing. It is full with Macks, Volvos, Kenworths, and Freightliners queuing up for conversion from diesel to battery electric. These trucks have similar chassis width, so Janus can use the same batteries and drivetrain on each truck.

Talk to the Converted

Converted cement truck

Fleets are paying for the conversions, trialling the electric semis, and then coming back for more. It would be great if ARENA could get behind this young company so it could ramp up faster. Perhaps this is a space that Mike Cannon-Brookes’ Boundless Earth could get involved in?

The sad news is that Janus will be expanding to the USA to commence operations in Q3 2023, with ten trucks already waiting to be converted, with the belief that Janus will be able to scale faster overseas.

Janus has four converted semis on the road in Australia — two based in Brisbane, the JE410 for Cement Australia, and the converted Janus Electric Western Star performing commercial operations. To prove the strength, durability, and efficiency of the drivetrain, they are funding a trial in South Australia’s rugged outback with Qube and Oz Minerals due to commence next month. Currently, Janus Electric has five more trucks in the workshop undergoing conversion, with the aim to convert five per month to battery electric.

I asked Lex about the progress of the charging infrastructure. He says they are running a little behind but that the Sydney-to-Brisbane run should be operating by Q2 2023. Battery swap stations will be in Brisbane (Hemmant), Byron Bay, Port Macquarie, and Berkeley Vale near Sydney. They have also situated battery swap stations at two hubs which are utilising the converted semis.

Talk to the converted

Janus Charge & Change station.

The Charge & Change Station at Berkeley Vale will be fitted with robotic battery changers. The other Charge & Change stations use forklifts to remove and replace the batteries. Basing the Charge & Change station close to Sydney is ideal to the higher volume of trucks in the area. Because of the high-power demand, it makes sense to scale out where the larger fleet is based.

Just as a comparison, the Tesla Semi will likely retail in Australia for around A$800,000. Janus Electric can convert an existing diesel semi for about A$175,000.

Talk to the converted

Loaded Western Star

“Talk to the converted,” Lex says. Hopefully this news gets passed from one truckie to another, and Janus will be able to keep up with demand. 10-4, Rubber Duckie.

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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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