Australian EV Manufacturer Aims to Jump Start Industry

Australia’s vehicle manufacturing scene is set to be revived by an electric car manufacturer, according to reports. Originally from Queensland, ‘ACE EV’ is made up by a small number of engineers who went public with their first electric vehicle last month. They have announced plans to mass-produce commercial vehicles such as the A4 Cargo and Ute variants, as well as a passenger car.

Things are moving quickly for the young company, who recently signed an agreement with Adelaide-based Aldom Motor Body Builders, that could see up to 15,000 units produced each year by 2025, despite the fact the company has received no federal subsidies or incentives to assist their expansion plans.

Greg McGarvie, ACE EV’s managing director confirmed with the ABC that the agreement was signed. “They are going to be assembling and building the very first light commercial electric vehicles in Australia,” he said.

“We know for sure that there’s a huge appetite for electric vehicles in Australia,” he said, “we’re taking orders now, there’s only 100 vehicles available for 2019 and Aldom will be manufacturing the first quarter 2020…. We’re hoping that we’ll get up to 15,000 a year.”

“Of that 15,000, we would expect around 80 per cent will be export[ed].”

ACE EV says that half of the componentry will be supplied by Australian businesses - mostly based in South Australia - while the remainder is made up by components imported from China.

“Adelaide has got a history of auto and there are a lot of supply chain opportunities that will support our manufacturing of electric vehicles,” McGarvie said, in reference to the infrastructure and contractors that were previously servicing Holden, Ford and Toyota manufacturing plants in South Australia. “We’re very pleased to be in South Australia. It’s a state that seems to be embracing new technology and a focus on the future.”

According to the spec-sheet, “The all electric ACE Cargo is so energy efficient that it will lower your running costs by up to 85%”, with a claimed range of up to 200km between charges. In its current form, it’s powered by a 23.2kWh battery pack that is rated up to 45kW of power and 174Nm of torque; these numbers are set to rise as the company adopts new technologies.

“The third vehicle ordered from our company is by an Adelaide lady,” said McGarvie, “and we’ll be presenting her with a Cargo badge which will go on the third vehicle in Australia next year when she collects it.”

“Effectively, all she needs to do is drive the vehicle home, plug it into the garage and charge it up like an iPhone overnight.”

While the company is still in its infancy, it has given Australia some hope in reviving its auto manufacturing scene. “Once I saw how the car went together,” managing director of Aldom, Mark Haig said, “I knew with the experience I’ve got here - with the body builders, our electricians, our hydraulic people, our engineer[ing] people we already use in our trade every day - they’ll be able to adapt across to this quite easily, and assemble the car.”

“We’ll be looking at building the first few out of our premises here in Wingfield and then what we’ll do is we’ll move to a purpose-built factory to be able to produce the numbers once the orders come.”

“They’ve already got some orders so it's very exciting thing for South Australia,” Haig said.

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