ELECTRIC UTES TO DEBUT SOONER RATHER THAN LATER
Leading the nation in this space is Queensland-based MTAiQ innovation hub client, ACE Electric Vehicles who are committed to assembling electric vehicles for sale in Australia, including a light-duty ‘Yewt’ small pickup and a ‘Cargo’ compact van with payloads of 500kg.
Additional operations underway in Australia include Melbourne-based SEA Electric which have developed fully electric light trucks/cab chassis and vans. The company has backing from the Victorian Government, a pilot fleet contract in place with Kings Transport and a local development project underway with Isuzu Australia Limited.
Battery breakthroughs that will ensure electric utes can cope with Australia’s long distances and tough terrain remain one of the biggest challenges for manufacturers.
Elon Musk has already built the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery in South Australia, storing energy for the state, and as head of Tesla Motors in California he is driving the development of an all-electric ute that could reach production as early as this year.
Hard facts are thin on the ground, with Musk revealing the plan late in 2017 using only a comical design sketch to tease the concept. While other big players in the industry are yet to announce a leap towards electric utes, new models from smaller manufacturers are taking a leap of faith – and hoping tradies, as their core audience, come along for the ride.
Among those with positive energy is Havelaar Canada with the Bison, Bollinger Motors with its B2, and other fledgling North American brands such as Via Motors and Rivian Automotive – all of which are working to have full-electric utes in production within the next 10 years.
It seems manufacturers and consumers alike understand that positive charge is in the air, and is bound to hit the road before too long.
12 Mar 2019