“Depot of the future” delivers Australia’s largest electric vehicle logistics fleet

In News4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineDecember 9, 2022

Australian logistics provider Team Global Express will embark on Australia’s largest vehicle electrification project after an AU$20.1-million funding injection from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The ‘Depot of the Future’ project will integrate battery electric vehicles within Global Express’ 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 across Australia and New Zealand, with more than 13,000 delivery vehicles in their fleet. The western Sydney depot at Bungarribee, NSW is a strategically important location in Global Express’ Sydney operations.

The project plays a critical role in Global Express’ decarbonisation strategy and will see one-third of its 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.

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.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has committed more than $100 million to the transport sector since 2016, including fast charging networks, home smart charging trials and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. Its funded projects have progressively built an understanding of key issues and helped to address key barriers.

Australian Renewable Energy Agency CEO Darren Miller said the project is an important next step to reduce emissions from heavy vehicles.

“We’re excited to be working with Global Express in switching a significant portion of its fleet to electric vehicles at its Bungarribee depot. We expect the project will provide valuable insights into the costs and operational aspects of transitioning its wider fleet to zero-emissions vehicles,” he 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,” said Miller.

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

Christine Holgate, Group CEO of Team Global Express, said the pioneering trial will place Team Global Express “at the forefront of electric vehicle adoption in the Australian logistics sector”.

“I am proud Team Global Express was chosen after an extensive process was undertaken by ARENA, throughout which they have been incredibly supportive,” she said.

“The 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 shareholders Allegro will be contributing $24.2 million to the project.