Australian software trial to integrate smart bus charging with energy grid
A world-first project to better integrate bus depots with the energy market and support a faster rollout of electric buses in NSW is being trialled in Western Sydney, creating local jobs.
The VEMO project, funded under Transport for NSW’s Zero Emissions Bus program, is the innovation of a cross-industry consortium including Australian bus operator Busways, Australian software and advisory company Evenergi and Western Sydney electricity distributor Endeavour Energy.
The consortium is trialling the software at Busways’ Penrith depot with an initial 12 electric buses from NSW bus manufacturer Custom Denning – the first to enter permanent service in NSW – to future proof the power supply to be capable of powering an entirely electric bus fleet.
The solution enables direct integration between Endeavour Energy’s distribution network and Busways’ depot to optimise electric bus charging in tune with grid use.
“We’re focused on supporting Transport for NSW’s 2030 goal of a Zero Emissions Bus fleet,” Busways chief operating officer Chris Wolf says.
“To completely transition from diesel to electric, we need to work with the energy sector to create a sustainable framework for full depot electrification.
“Instead of having a multi-million dollar ‘big battery’ onsite, this revolutionary software solution creates a bridge between our bus depot charging infrastructure and the energy retail and distribution markets, to smartly draw down power when grid use is lower, whilst ensuring our buses are always charged for service delivery.”
The system uses sophisticated software tools and real-time energy monitoring to connect the depot to the wider distribution network, communicating directly with the energy provider’s assets.
“We work with bus operators, distribution networks, and transit authorities globally and have seen some common themes emerging with opportunities to unlock value from the energy market while reducing the impact on the grid,” Evenergi chief executive Daniel Hilson says.
“We have been commissioned to build this world-first software for this visionary consortium and we are proud to unveil the VEMO trial today. We already have five Sydney tech jobs created for this project and at full capacity, the project will enable us to grow a much larger team right here in NSW and then export the technology to the world. “
Australia’s largest privately-owned bus operator, Busways, operates 346 buses from depots at Penrith, Blacktown and Mulgrave in Western Sydney and has a total fleet of over 1,350 buses.
Busways is undertaking significant upgrades to progress electrification of Penrith depot to support an initial 12 Australian-made electric buses supported by six ABB Terra charging stations.
These electric buses will be used as a testbed for this software with Evenergi, Busways and Endeavour Energy leveraging knowledge and lessons learnt to optimise the platform for future implementations.