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NSW trials first locally made emission-free bus

Image Credits: Government News, Article

The New South Wales government is trailing the state’s first locally built electric bus. The Element e-bus, which will run between the Sydney beachside suburbs of Bondi and Bronte during the two-week trial, was built in Western Sydney by a local bus and coach manufacturer.

When fully charged, which takes about five hours, the e-bus can run for 16 hours or 450 kilometres. The batteries don’t contain Nickel, Cobalt or harmful solvents and can be recycled, and the buses can carry 80 passengers and are built to withstand 25-years of service, the company says. They also contain telematics and onboard driver training and assessment capabilities.

The government is encouraging commuters to try out the new bus by waiving the fare.

The Transport Minister stated, “Until now we’ve seen the conversion of diesel buses to electric and buses built overseas, but this is the first fully-fledged Australian-made bus in the state. The state’s first trial of a locally built electric bus takes us closer to an emissions-free future.”

Charging infrastructure will be installed at Waverley Bus Depot. The state’s 8,000 buses currently operate on diesel fuel and compressed natural gas but there are plans to roll out 50 new e-buses across Sydney this year. The government is aiming to replace the entire fleet by 2030.

New life for electric vehicle batteries

On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $1.49 million in funding to a Melbourne battery technology company to advance their commercial-scale battery and inverter system using repurposed second-life electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The company is launching a 36 kW / 120 kWh commercial scale modular battery product, utilising second-life electric vehicle battery packs.

The $3.3 million project will see the tech firm finalise development and undertake certifications ahead of the roll-out of 20 battery units across commercial and industrial customer applications throughout Australia.

The company’s advanced BMS+Inverter battery control technology can boost the lifetime and performance of batteries while reducing battery system costs. The technology, which was developed with support from ARENA in 2018, combines both hardware and software.

EV batteries are often considered to have reached the end of life when their batteries have degraded to 80 per cent of their initial capacity. While EV drivers may seek a new battery to improve driving range, the second-life battery remains a valuable and useful asset in stationary storage applications.

The project will showcase the capability of its technology to extend the lifetime of batteries while also highlighting the opportunity to reduce battery cost further using second-life batteries.

The company will offer these batteries to selected Australian customers and electricity network businesses. Prospective customers include utilities, industry and communities, both grid-connected and off-grid.

The CEO of ARENA noted that the project will also help to reduce costs and improve pathways for battery storage to be installed at a commercial scale, particularly in industrial settings.

“Battery storage is already playing a crucial role in supporting the transition to renewable energy within the industry, however, we need to do more to make it commercially viable,” he said.

He added that second-life batteries have significant potential to drive down costs, and the company’s battery management and inverter technology can provide what is needed to transform them into valuable assets for businesses looking to make the switch.

This new commercial-scale battery will provide a cost-effective form of battery storage for use in commercial and industrial settings. The firm’s battery technology could be rolled out in a range of applications such as solar integration, providing backup power on farms and to microgrids, deferring the need for network upgrade and replacing diesel generators.

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