SEA Electric is getting A$5 million ($3.9 million) from the Australian government for a project to convert medium-duty trucks and commercial vans to run on electricity.
The company has developed three drive-system models that convert fuel-operated CVs to electric.
SEA says it is producing all-electric CVs whose total cost of ownership is lower than that of an equivalent diesel CV.
The company has exclusive rights to three Australian Design Rules-compliant, donor-vehicle platforms for the three all-electric SEA-Drive systems it developed for the Australian and New Zealand markets: the SEA EV14, a 14-ton cab-chassis truck; the SEA EV10, a 10-ton cab-chassis truck; and the SEA E4V, is a 371-cu.-ft. (10,500 L) van or minibus.
SEA integrates and assembles EV drive systems into a basic chassis and framework, including the cab, battery pack and electric motor. It also fits the electronic infrastructure of the vehicle.
SEA says with electric-truck sales expected to grow more than 1,000% over the next seven years, it is positioned to provide OEM retrofits.
Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg says the government money will help SEA increase its manufacturing capacity to meet the growing demand for clean-energy vehicle technologies. Increasing the uptake of EVs is an important part of Australia’s broader strategy to reduce emissions.
“This innovative technology would benefit freight, delivery and waste-collection businesses looking to transition to lower-emission vehicles,” Frydenberg says in a statement.
The money comes from the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, operated by Clean Energy Finance to drive innovation in clean-energy technologies.
SEA Executive Chairman Tony Fairweather says Australia has the potential to become a global leader in the rapidly emerging EV industry.
“Vans and medium-duty trucks are suited to EV technology because businesses using them typically have relatively fixed and known route distances and vehicles return to base overnight, which allows for recharging,” Fairweather says in a statement.
“With ongoing decreases in the cost of lithium batteries, our electric-drive systems are becoming increasingly cost-competitive with equivalent petrol (gasoline) or diesel engines, which means that businesses using these vans and trucks can consider 100% electric vehicles on a commercial basis as well as for their environmental benefits.”
Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows more than 3 million light-commercial vehicles were registered in Australia in 2016. Of those, more than 96% used either gasoline or diesel.