Following calls for “transformational change” to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius, an Australian company is converting diesel-powered trucks to electric power.

Janus Electric from Central Coast NSW said its electric prime mover conversions would transform long haul trucking and help reduce Australia’s third-largest source of CO2.

The call for change came from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on climate change mitigation.

Co-founder Lex Forsyth said the cost of an electric conversion was $150,000, and the company had four prime movers already, with another 75 planned to be on the road by June next year.

He said the electric prime movers could travel between 400 and 600 kilometres on a charge, and swapping batteries took four minutes, which was faster than filling up with fuel.

It takes about two days to remove the diesel power train and then three days to install the electric motor and battery receptacle.(Supplied: Janus Electric)

Mr Forsyth said the production of renewable energy happened in the middle of the day when there was no demand.

“So, the beauty of having a battery that sits and charges is that it can take that renewable energy in and either go back into a truck or invert it into the grid.

He said the stations would be 400km apart, and with current battery cell technology, which was roughly five hours of driving time.

“So, [that is when] drivers are stopping to have their fatigue breaks,” he said.

“We’ve got an order book that is growing rapidly with the amount of pressure on carbon zero.

“We’re getting more interest the more people that come and drive the trucks. At first, they are sceptical, but then they drive it and go, ‘Wow, this thing is spectacular’.”

YOUTUBEJanus Electric prime mover demonstration

Mr Forsyth said the trucks had more torque than a diesel-powered prime mover and had the extra benefit of running quietly and needing little maintenance due to fewer moving parts in an electric motor.

Electrified truck fleet still years away

Gary Mahon, Queensland Trucking Association CEO, said larger and more boutique manufacturers were already introducing low-carbon options in Australia.

“There’s some really good progress in the low-carbon options for heavy truck fleets, but to make inroads into the fleet, it’s probably five years before you start to see a real difference in the composition in the fleet.”

A prototype swappable battery fitted to a converted electric truck replacing the fuel tank.(Supplied: Janus Electric)

Mr Mahon said there was certainly a role for the government in making electric trucking more common and a chance for investment opportunities.

“The government can invest in infrastructure and charging, especially for inland Australia.

“Charging infrastructure is necessary to give people greater range confidence on the route.”

Government paying ‘lip service’

Mr Forsyth said he had been disappointed in the lack of support from the federal government.

“We’ve had lots of lip service but no real commitment,” he said.

“It’s really disappointing to think we have a solution to go to carbon zero right here and now, and we don’t seem to be able to get a financial commitment or ease of dealing with some of the next work issues of trying to establish charge and change sites.”

Extracted in full from: Bid to transform long-haul trucking from diesel to electric – ABC News