I’m more excited about Australian electric Semi JANUS than Tesla!

The big surprise for me this week is that I’m more excited by today’s Aussie electric trucking firm Janus than the shiny Tesla semi we’re being promised in a few years. Why? It carries more, better.

Tesla Semi carries 40 tonnes about 800 km range, with a 30 minute Megacharger for another 600 km.

Janus Semi carries 100 tonnes about 500 to 600 km,  but with just a 4 minute battery swap for another 500 km! Just pull in and swap every 400 km and you’re well and truly safe – range anxiety is no longer a thing.

Note: both the Tesla and Janus mean they have ranges well over what an Australian trucker is legally allowed to drive in one shift. They’re meant to stick to 100 km an hour and have a half hour break in 8 hours. That means a top LEGAL range of roughly 1150 km.  That half hour break is when the Tesla could recharge or accounts for 2 battery swaps and breaks in the Janus system.

Watch the forklift swap the battery – (but big robot doovers are coming soon.)

Electricity is about a third the price of Diesel. This means the battery pack is separated from the truck. The truck can instantly enjoy new battery technology as it evolves over the next few years. They’re converting 67 trucks this year – with plans for much bigger Aussie road trains that can carry over 200 tons!

Battery swap just seems better! It means if a truck ever runs out of charge somewhere, there could be roadside assistant trucks with robot or forklift doovers that take the old battery out and swap in a new one. While the Tesla Megacharger is impressive it puts both the grid and battery under enormous stress. The battery-swap is faster, but the charging of the battery can take it’s time, avoiding any stress on the battery or electricity grid. These already carry 2.5 times the weight of the Tesla Semi. Indeed, if this battery pack becomes a world standard (like USB C is a phone standard) then who knows what improvements it might open up trucking to? And will Tesla’s Semi with expensive fast-charger and expensive batteries get left behind?

What does all this MEAN?

Will trucking companies become their own power companies? Janus might be tempted to buy a solar farm near their rural battery swap stations. Let’s imagine their rural grid isn’t that reliable and / or cheap? They decide enough is enough. Land out there is cheap – so they install a huge solar farm. They buy extra batteries, and just charge their batteries during the day. Sure they have trucks swapping out batteries at night, but they’ve bought more batteries for that and just charge them all during the day. For them, it’s like buying their own oil refinery and getting off the world oil market once and for all!

THEN consider the money! Toll and Linfox and Auspost have serious MONEY to put into saving money long-term by investing in wind or solar farms around the place.

THEN consider that battery tech is still evolving. Imagine what will emerge in the coming years as BIG OIL money switches into BIG BATTERY!

THEN consider the geopolitical implications as ENORMOUS multinationals like Toll realise they can be seen as the good guys by not buying oil off all those countries that don’t like us very much, like the Middle Eastern Theocracies and Russian autocrats.

THEN consider whether you want your super anywhere near fossil fuel investments!

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