As an Australian business founded on the NSW Central Coast, Janus Electric is focused on converting Australian trucks to electric and can convert most prime movers manufactured after 2010, such as Freightliner, Kenworth, Mack, Volvo, and Western Star.
With a compact design, their system replaces the diesel engine and ancillaries, such as the air compressor, air-conditioning, and power steering pumps without requiring a lot of redesign on the original truck and can be rated to haul up to 110 tons.
On display at the show was their latest Kenworth T610 conversion, which is similar to one currently operating in Mount Gambier, South Australia, operating 24 hours per day on forestry work at 68.5 tons.
Speaking with Janus Electric’s CEO, Lex Forsyth, he explained how trials have been rolling out across the country in a range of operations, ‘It’s been an exciting 12 months with our Western Star working in various operations, our Kenworth covering 18,500kms in a b-double logging operation, and a recently converted Volvo FH heading to Port Augusta pulling triples at 175 tons.’
‘With our exchangeable battery system, we can easily show how electric trucks perform just as well if not better than their diesel counterparts, and on the same duty cycles too.’
According to Lex, the battery exchange process takes just four minutes using a forklift to swap them over, a similar concept to swapping battery packs on your drill. The truck can then quickly head out for another shift whilst the spare battery packs are fully charged at the depot in around four hours.
‘With our battery swap system, it also means that you can be charging one set of batteries during the day with renewable energy whilst you have one or two trucks out working.’ Lex explains.
In terms of range, Janus Electric expects to see single trailer combinations achieve a range of 400-500 km depending on the number of axles, wind resistance, payload, and driving style, and between 300-400 km for b-doubles.
‘We are seeing improvements in battery technology, with our current battery density of 250 Wh/kg expected to double in just 2 years, which will see a much greater range for the same size of packs.’
Along with the conversion technology, Janus Electric is also investing heavily in the Janus Electric Solar Highways project. A series of dedicated solar farms and renewable energy recharging battery packs at the Janus Charge and Change Stations (JCCS), where you can call in to swap out your batteries before continuing along with the highway.
Positioned at key locations along the M1 of Australia’s East Coast and to Adelaide from 2024, the JCCS will be positioned every 300 km to offer a real solution for long-haul operators who want to move to zero emissions within the next couple of years.
In terms of costs, a Janus Electric conversion is currently around $175,000, without batteries which you pay for as you use them. So, when compared with the cost to rebuild or replace an engine at the end of its first life ranging from $70,000 to $100,000, it might be a more attractive option, especially when considering you can increase your Truck’s power to 720 hp with instant torque and operate up to 110 tons.