Sydney to Brisbane for $525 in electric converted prime mover

Big Rigs

APR. 26, 2021

Developed by professional engineers led by co-founder Bevan Dooley and transport operators, Janus says its batteries remove the need for heavy electric vehicles to plug in and charge for 12 hours.

Janus Electric, based on the NSW Central Coast, is about to road test the world’s first patented exchangeable battery for heavy vehicles.

Developed by professional engineers led by co-founder Bevan Dooley and transport operators, Janus says its batteries remove the need for heavy electric vehicles to plug in and charge for 12 hours.

Instead the revolutionary solution can be swapped out in three minutes with a ready to go battery, thereby increasing vehicle utilisation.

Lex Forsyth, Janus Electric’s general manager, said the exchangeable battery is a game-changer for the transport industry globally.

“Janus Electric has solved the scale, price-point and battery technology challenge for conversion to electric,” said Forsyth, who takes the covers off the first proto-type – an electric converted Kenworth T403 – at the Brisbane Truck Show from May 13-16.

“We want to lead the transition to electric heavy vehicle road transport in Australia, and we want Australian businesses to be at the forefront of this next phase of road transport globally.”

Forsyth tells Big Rigs that although the 2m x 1.2m lithium batteries cost $120,000 apiece, Janus has devised a per-use business model to keep upfront investment at a minimum for operators.

Users either pay $110 per battery use, or $140 per 24 hours. Instead of charging the batteries themselves, operators simply swap them out for a freshly-charged option at one of the charge-and-change stations along the initial Brisbane-Sydney trial route.

Forsyth said the stations will be located strategically to coincide with mandatory driver fatigue breaks, initially located at Hemmant in Brisbane, Taree and Coffs Harbour on the Pacific Highway, and Prestons in Sydney.

“Ultimately there will be a national network of change and charge stations,” he said.

Forsyth estimates that your average B-double would get between 400-500km per charge, depending on loads, and other variables, with some smaller applications going as far as 600km.

So how does that compare with running the same rig on diesel from Sydney to Brisbane?

According to Forsyth’s modelling, running a diesel prime mover cost around $980 along that route, while the Janus battery system would cost somewhere between $525 and $550, including battery hire for the day.

Forsyth said the cost to convert a prime mover to the battery-powered system is $85,000.

But he says users will break even in just a year, assuming you can sell that same engine for $20,000, and you make 250 runs a year from Brisbane to Sydney in the converted truck to reap the associated cost savings.

Forsyth said it takes less than a week for Janus to convert any existing heavy duty prime mover into an electric vehicle.

“This means fleet operators can cost-effectively undertake mass electrification of their entire fleet for the same cost of re-working a diesel engine,” he said.

“There are substantial cost savings to fleet electrification. The Janus solution can deliver up to a 30 per cent reduction in maintenance and operating costs. There are positive benefits for the drivers fatigue management and overall health and well-being with the Janus conversion from diesel to electric through the reduction of vibration, noise and harmful fumes.”

Forsyth said the next step is to further test another four prototypes currently being converted, with the aim of generating 250,000km of additional performance data.

These test vehicles will be on the Pacific Highway from later this year.