Australian electric truck start up/ modifier Janus has suffered another major setback with another of its modified battery swap trucks catching fire this week.
The truck, a Janus modified Kenworth prime mover hauling a single bulk cement trailer for Cement Australia, caught alight on a major Melbourne freeway that caused major traffic disruptions while firefighters battled to extinguished the runaway blaze.
Firefighters were called to a cement truck on fire near the inbound exit to Todd Rd on the West Gate Freeway, in Port Melbourne, at about 1.10pm on Tuesday.
The fire took almost an hour to get under control but fire crews remained for some time, with the incident closing two lanes and the Todd Rd inbound exit which remained closed along with one of the lanes overnight on Tuesday.
The Melbourne incident follows another similar fire in a Janus in July 2022
That fire left Janus Electric licking its wounds after the devastating fire at its headquarters at Berkeley Vale on the NSW Central Coast , which destroyed one of the company’s prototypes and damaged another.
The company said at the time that it was looking into the causes of the fire with a full internal investigation, after the battery fire that claimed valuable prototype.
In that incident a similar Kenworth T403 truck, which was the first truck that Janus had converted to an electric driveline along with its trademark swap out/swap in batteries, was totally destroyed in the fire, while anther Kenworth T610 glider, which was parked close to the prototype truck was also damaged.
The first fire was brought under control by the local fire brigade and general manager of Janus, Lex Forsyth said that from initial investigations it is suspected that the fire was caused by an engineering challenge which he said had been since engineered out of the company’s latest prototypes.
“It is fortunate that the impact of the fire has caused minimal disruption in hitting our milestones as the Kenworth T403 was the first in kind never to be repeated prototype.”
The Janus Kenworth T403 was the first truck to be fitted with the original Janus interchangeable battery system used the original front-loading battery design more than three years ago.