‘This industry needs to change’: Volvo, TGE roll out Australia’s largest logistics EV fleet

Innovation

Team Global Express (TGE) has purchased 60 medium-duty electric trucks, the largest order Volvo has received to date anywhere in the world. The green trucks replace one-third of TGE’s fleet and will be used to deliver packages to customers around Sydney.
Prime Minster Albanese and the global CEO of Volvo Martin Lunstedt attend the delivery of 60 electric trucks to TGE headquarters in Western Sydney and applaud TGE CEO Christine Holgate. Image courtesy: Volvo

“If you don’t invest, and you don’t try things, you will never get change,” TGE CEO Christine Holgate tells Forbes Australia at TGE headquarters near Blacktown, Sydney.

“The truth of the matter is that heavy transporters are 20% of carbon emissions. And if we’re going to embrace net zero, this industry needs to change.”

Holgate was joined by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and Volvo’s global and Australian CEOs to unveil TGE’s new fleet of Volvo eFLs and Daimler Fuso eCanter trucks.

Volvo announced that it will manufacture electric trucks at its facility in Wacol, approximately 20 km outside Brisbane.

“The trucks you see here today were brought in from overseas,” says Martin Merrick, the CEO of Volvo Australia.

“Our intention is to build battery electric vehicles in our factory in Wacol, by the end of 2027. That’s a major step forward that will involve huge investment at our factory that we’ve had for 52 years. And we are super proud that we are leading the transformation to decarbonise the transport industry here in Australia.”

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It is another step forward in the transition of heavy transportation toward renewables. While the infrastructure is not yet in place to enable long-haul electric trucking, the announcement today addresses metropolitan deliveries.

“What we see is that 35% of the freight task is urban,” says Merrick.

TGE’s new electric trucks are a part of an agreement that TGE has entered into with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. ARENA contributed $20-million dollars towards the purchase of the vehicles. TGE put up an additional $25-million and has built a ‘depot of the future’ in Western Sydney to service and charge the trucks.

TGE will share what it learns from having an electric fleet on Sydney’s roads with other transportation companies.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at TGE in Western Sydney, calls the TGE, Volvo and ARENA deal for medium-duty electric trucks a game-changer. Image courtesy: Volvo

“We have several of our peers here today,” says Holgate. “FedEx, CouriersPlease, Aramax. And what we say is come in and learn with us. Everything that we learn in this trial will be open book and we’re sharing it with anybody who wants to learn.”

TGE installed a 1MW battery energy storage system (BESS) powered by solar panels at its Blacktown headquarters. The BESS will charge the electric trucks and reduce TGE’s day-to-day energy consumption from the traditional electricity grid.

“Day one, we saved $7,300 on energy costs because of the surplus energy created from the charging stations,” says Holgate.

Prime Minister Albanese says the deal between Volvo, TGE and ARENA is a game-changer.

“This just makes sense,” says Prime Minister Albanese.

“The future is here. Companies that embrace the opportunity will get first mover advantage and will be ahead of the pack. That is how our economy needs to transition. Good for jobs, good for the economy, good for lowering emissions and dealing with the challenges of climate change, good for air pollution, good for people’s health. There is no downside.”

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