NBN Co’s Hybrid Fleet Rollout Boosts Safety, Power Outage Resolution

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Australia-based broadband provider NBN Co says it is embracing innovation and improving customer experience through its rollout of a fleet of hybrid vehicles with elevated work platforms to enable the installation, maintenance and rapid repair of aerial sections of the NBN network.

The elevated work platforms, mounted on hybrid electric trucks, allow company technicians to work safely in high places, which will help enable faster resolution of outages following a severe weather event, helping deliver improved customer experience.

Five elevated work platforms have been mounted on the back of medium-duty Hino 916 hybrid electric truck chassis by Nifty-Lift at its factory in Bayswater in the east of Melbourne.

The five hybrid elevated work platforms have been rolled out across the east coast and southern part of Australia, with two in Queensland, one in New South Wales, one in Victoria and one in South Australia. They are being used for ongoing maintenance of the Hybrid Fiber Coaxial (HFC) network and aerial-mounted fiber network.

The new hybrid fleet will contribute to NBN’s emissions reduction efforts. Each self-charging truck delivers up to 20% savings in fuel and emissions reductions compared with a similar diesel truck. Kinetic energy from the moving vehicle is converted into usable power by the hybrid motor and is stored in the batteries until operating conditions allow it to automatically switch between the diesel engine and the electric motor.

NBN is working to make its network more resilient to the effects of climate change and the increasing frequency of extreme weather, such as bushfires, cyclones and flooding.

The company uses Temporary Network Infrastructure (TNI) to quickly restore services to customers when a network site is badly damaged or destroyed.

This equipment has been strategically placed in areas across the country so it can be deployed in the case of an emergency event as soon as it is safe to do so, to keep vital lines of communication operational for communities and first responders.

NBN is committed to using electric or hybrid vehicles, where suitably available, by 2030. There are already 55 hybrid vehicles in use, and the company plans to phase in more hybrid or electric vehicles as suitable models and supporting infrastructure become available. Electrification of NBN’s fleet, including hybrids, is one of the actions the company is taking to achieve science-based emissions reductions and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, or sooner.

The company is committed to reducing annual energy use by 25 GWh per annum by December 2025.

“Building a more climate-resilient and energy-efficient network is a key priority for our company,” says Emily Hall, NBN executive general manager, Procurement and Property. “These new vehicles are an important addition to our fleet as they align to both of those key objectives. Not only will these new hybrid vehicles help us reduce emissions, importantly they will allow us to respond to outages more quickly and improve the resilience of our network, delivering a better customer experience.”

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