The converted prime movers all weigh more than the allowed 6.0 tonnes on the steer the standard allows. Any truck with a Euro 4 or later engine can be registered to 6.5 tonnes with FUPS bar fitted.
The converted prime movers are on average about 1 tonne heavier than the same model powered by a diesel engine. The loss of any weight allowance presented a serious hurdle to the upcoming planned on-road trials.
Communication with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) failed to resolve the issues and Janus looked like an up to 18-month delay in the registration approval process. The best option apparently a new provision inserted into ADR80/03 that made an exception for electric trucks.
The problem doesn’t just affect Janus. It affects any manufacturer wanting to bring zero emission technology to Australia.
“The technology is here before the legislation is in place to take it on board,” said Janus Electric co-founder and general manager, Lex Forsyth.
“There’s a total misalignment between government grants, funding and the industry.
“They’re trying to encourage us to bring zero emissions to our transport network and fleets, but they haven’t got the legislation framework in place to be able to do it.”
I’d spoken with Lex to line up a time to talk with him about the ADR issues that looked potentially fatal to Janus Electric trucks in Australia.
When the time come for us to have our chat, Lex greeted me with the news that about 4:30pm on Friday (September 30) they’d received word that common-sense had broken out and the trucks would be allowed to be registered and a compliance plate would be issued.
“It’s a great relief for us and the team,” he said. “We have a group of technicians who have worked to produce a vehicle that will do the job. To be told a converted truck wouldn’t be able to be registered as commercial vehicle was a body blow to the team.”
A Janus conversion is a massive change in thinking from other electric projects. A standard diesel powered prime mover has all the engine components and fuel tanks removed. Radiator gone. Turbo gone.
All the OEM parts that cause issues are gone. The best news is the AdBlue issue is gone as well. The electric motor is mounted and mated to a standard automatic transmission with a modified shift computer.
The latest motor is producing 720hp and 2600nm of torque at 1700rpm. With approximately 500km of range depending on weight and gradients.
These trucks are a significant advance in electric technology. Rather than being plugged in to a charging station the standardised batteries mounted in place of the fuel tanks are released and replaced at the charging station just like replacing the battery in a hand held 18 volt drill.
Drivers won’t have to sit and wait for their truck. Ten minutes will see you recharged and on your way.
The way is now open for the planned trials. The Western Star will be heading to Brisbane to work in the metropolitan area towing a tipper. The Coronado will be running between Lidcombe and Wyong towing a fridge van. It’s time to see what these trucks can do in the real world.
For Mike’s full interview with Lex Forsyth, tune into the On The Road Podcast from your favourite platform from Friday, October 7.
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