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

One of Australia’s busiest logistics providers is set to embark on Australia’s largest vehicle electrification project at its western Sydney depot.

On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $20.1 million in funding to Team Global Express (Global Express) for the ‘Depot of the Future’ project to integrate battery electric vehicles within 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 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.

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 funded projects have progressively built an understanding of key issues and helped to address key barriers.

ARENA will 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.

Decarbonisation of land transport is a key priority for ARENA, with the Australian Government’s Driving the Nation program continuing to help industry and consumers take the steps necessary to see Australia’s transport emissions reduce in line with international commitments.

ARENA 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. 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,” Mr Miller said.

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.

“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.”

Being the largest logistics EV fleet in Australia, Team Global Express will be in a unique position to share knowledge with government, industry partners and manufacturers, to help all stakeholders towards a greener future for logistics.

“I want to thank ARENA for this opportunity. As part of the trial we will be working closely together to share the knowledge we gain and we look forward to providing this vital information for the benefit of the transport and logistics sector.”

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