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ARENA backs depot for Australia’s largest EV fleet

Manufacturing News

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is backing the creation of Australia’s largest electric vehicle logistics fleet by supporting the construction of a ‘depot of the future’.

ARENA today announced $20.1 million in funding to Team Global Express (Global Express) for the depot project to integrate battery electric vehicles in its transport and logistics operations.

Global Express will deploy 60 battery electric delivery vehicles and associated charging infrastructure within its ‘Express Parcels’ fleet at the western Sydney depot in Bungarribee, NSW.

The $44.3 million project includes the purchase and operation of 24 Daimler Fuso eCanters (Light Rigid Vehicles), 36 Volvo eFLs (Medium Rigid Vehicles) and the associated charging and site infrastructure to enable vehicle integration into the depot.

The transportation and logistics operations of Global Express spans Australia and New Zealand, with more than 13,000 delivery vehicles in their fleet.

The project will see one-third of the company’s western Sydney fleet transition to BEVs and operate under a ‘back-to-base’ model, with the trucks travelling from distribution centres to customers in urban areas, then returning to the depot for charging.

Group CEO of Team Global Express Christine Holgate said the pioneering trial would place the company at the forefront of electric vehicle adoption in the Australian logistics sector.

Holgate said: “Today’s announcement is a major milestone for our people and our customers.

“This trial will help to reduce our scope 1 emissions profile, and that of our customers, and give our valued employees at Bungarribee the opportunity to be trained on charging, driving and optimising the electric vehicles of the future.

“Team Global Express and our shareholders Allegro will be contributing $24.2 million to the ground-breaking project.”

The project is expected to generate significant insights on the impact on fleet management, delivery routing and infrastructure requirements when a large fleet electrifies a material proportion of its operations.

ARENA has committed over $100 million to the transport sector since 2016, including fast charging networks, home smart charging trials and hydrogen refueling infrastructure.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project would provide valuable insights into the costs and operational aspects of transitioning its wider fleet to zero emissions vehicles.

Miller said: Importantly, our goal is for the heavy vehicle industry to learn from this project as others consider their transition pathway.

“Operating a fleet of battery electric heavy vehicles will help to address some of the key barriers to adoption, including overcoming the higher upfront purchase price, and uncertainty of integrating electric vehicles into existing operations at scale.

“Understanding these barriers will help to build market confidence around EV technology and show that the transition to heavy electric vehicles is possible.”

Miller said ARENA would continue to support further development in zero emission vehicles and technologies, including further investment in charging stations across the country, as well as EV charging at home and applications for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, heavy fleets and vehicles used in mining.

Picture: Team Global Express electric delivery vehicles

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