Cement Australia has been awarded a grant from the $5 million Commercial Sector Innovation Fund (CSIF) to lease 24 batteries and equip six diesel prime movers in its Melbourne fleet with electric drivetrains and batteries, giving them a range of more than 200 kilometres on a single charge.
The company has been pioneering the use of electric vehicles since 2018 and, late last year, delivered its first load in New South Wales with a Kenworth T410 Glider that had been converted into a battery electric vehicle (BEV) by Janus Electric.
As well as being powered by mains supply when operating at the concrete plant, the Janus JE410 has 620kWh of hot-swappable battery capacity and an electric blower discharge that runs off this onboard energy storage.
The truck’s powertrain features a 350kW motor and is capable of 400-600 kilometres between battery swaps. The truck is certified for 70 tonnes and comes with a 12-speed transmission.
Cement Australia’s electrification initiative will require the installation of charging infrastructure that will allow for the swapping out of battery packs, as well as three charging units.
The testing and demonstration stage is hoped to establish the performance of the BEV-converted prime movers in 24-hour operation, their maintenance and repair requirements, along with the reliability of the batteries and charging infrastructure.
Results of the study will determine areas that need improvement to optimise performance. The data and insights obtained during this phase will be instrumental in guiding the company’s sustainability efforts; it estimates that converting prime movers to BEV will cut its transport emissions by 90 per cent.