Team Global Express (TGE), the new company name for the former Toll Global Express, has announced a major new electric truck trial that it is claiming as potentially the largest electric truck trial in the world, with 60 new electric Volvo and Fuso trucks to be added to the company’s Bungarribee facility in Western Sydney, thanks in part to a $20.1 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), with TGE investing the remaining $24.1 milion.

The announcement was made by the company’s CEO Christine Holgate, in the presence of the Federal minister for Climate and Energy, Chris Bowen, who also happens to be the member for the local seat where the Team facility is located near Blacktown.

The move to add the 60 battery electric trucks to the company fleet represents around one third of the number of trucks   which operated from the Bungarribee facility, but is just a drop in the ocean when compared to the company’s total fleet of more than 6500 vehicles, however as Christine Holgate pointed out “the way to climb Mt Everest is one step at a time”.

The 60 electric trucks being added to the fleet will include 36 Volvo eFLs and 24 Fuso eCanters, and along with rapid charging infrastructure and power via a large-scale roof top solar power generation system on the warehouse, represents a total investment totaling $44.3 million. Both the Volvo and Fuso sales are claimed to be the single largest orders each company has received for the electric trucks in the world, to date.

The five-year TGE electric truck trial also includes the installation of 63 chargers on site and the battery system to store energy generated by the 400kW/h solar power generation system at the Bungarribee depot at Sydney’s Eastern Creek.

Team Global Express says it aims to reduce the emissions profile of its 6500 vehicle transport fleet, with the 60 BEVs to be  used by the company’s Express Parcels fleet.

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

“I want to thank ARENA and Minister Bowen for this opportunity and their support under the Driving the Nation Fund. I would also like to thank our employees, our Union partner the TWU, our Board and our banking partner  – CBA, who together have all made this trial possible. This announcement is a very proud milestone for our people, our customers, our industry and our country.

“Today is an important step toward progressing Australia’s pathway to reduce scope 1 emissions and secure a net zero future. This is the first project of its scale in Australian logistics, as such we are in a unique position to work closely with ARENA to share the knowledge we gain and provide this vital information for the benefit of the entire transport and logistics sector.

“This trial will not only reduce emissions, it will also give our valued employees at Bungarribee the opportunity to be trained on charging, driving and optimising the electric vehicles of the future. For Team Global Express, it’s an important milestone in our vision to be Australia’s most sustainable logistics company,” said Holgate.

 The company says the Bungarribee site in Western Sydney has been chosen to host the trial due to its strategic location in the geographic centre of Sydney, the nature of the operations and the suitability of the existing facilities to host the necessary battery and charging infrastructure for the fleet.

The project will see the BEV fleet transition operate under a ‘back-to-base’ model with travel from the distribution centre to customers in residential and urban areas, with the trucks returning to the depot for charging.

Daimler boss Daniel Whitehead said the Team Global Express project is a great example of carbon-reduction in action.

“We are thrilled to partner with Team Global Express for this exciting project, which represents a dramatic step forward on the journey towards zero emission freight transport in Australia,” Whitehead said.

“We have no doubt this ground-breaking project will provide inspiration for many operators in Australia and are pleased the Fuso eCanter has been recognised as the best truck for this role,” Whitehead concluded.

On the Volvo side, its senior vice president for international sales area ,Per-Erik Lindström was assigned the role of  spokesperson and said the ambitious initiative shows what the  industry can achieve with positive government policies and agencies like ARENA.

It’s clear that more and more transport companies around the world now want to start the journey towards electric, zero emission transports,” said Lindström.

 We are excited to work together with Team Global Express and other customers and we have the broadest electric truck line up in the industry, which makes it possible to electrify city and regional transport already today,” he claimed.

TGE said that trucks will be powered and charged on-site using both on-site solar generation, the installation of a battery energy storage system and the use of renewable energy from the grid.

Construction at the depot and associated charging infrastructure will commence shortly after the coming Christmas peak period and the company will employ more than 50 people, while the company will commence receiving the 60 vehicles over an 18 month period from early next year.

“I am so encouraged by the amazing response we have had from our people to put their hands up and volunteer to be part of this trial. We often talk about the transition of workforces as we move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. This is happening in real time at Team Global Express as we retire diesel-fuelled vehicles and replace them with EVs. I am so proud of the enthusiasm and willingness from our team to participate in this change that benefits our customers, people and our Country,” said Christine Holgate.

The electric vehicle fleet will be deployed as part of Team Global Express’ parcels fleet as this is where the duty cycle is most appropriate to the distances driven during the day and the shift patterns of the drivers. The battery electric vehicles will service deliveries direct to customers in residential areas and commercial customers across a range of industries throughout the Greater Sydney area. Rolling out the electric truck fleet into an urban distribution area was chosen as trucks are stopping and starting regularly and therefore generating energy via braking.

The benefits of the electric truck fleet will extend to local communities through reduced vehicle noise and improved urban air quality. Additionally, our drivers will benefit from improved safety conditions through lower noise and vibrations and the general safety benefits of a new fleet with the latest technology, sensors and ergonomics.

 The trial is part of Team Global Express’ ongoing plan to reduce emissions and environmental impacts relating to its intermodal fleet.