MTAiQ client reigniting local vehicle manufacturing through electric vehicles

MTAiQ client ACE Electric Vehicle (EV) group is one step closer to becoming Australia’s first EV manufacturer after an agreement was reached with Flinders University to develop technology that will assist in the mass production of ACE-EV vehicles in Australia.

Setting out on its electric journey four years ago, the Australian start-up designs and manufactures flat pack right hand drive electric vehicles in China before importing them to Australia ready for easy assemble.

The assembly of an ACE electric vehicle consists of 72 parts being glued together using adhesive bonding. Of the 72 parts, 14 make up the light-weight carbon fibre skeleton structure the vehicle is built around.

This process of manufacturing the vehicles provides a reduction in carbon emissions of as much as 33% compared to traditional car manufacturing methods, making ACE-EVs a more environmentally friendly business model to take global.

Through the recently announced agreement with Flinders University, the company is aiming to develop technology capable of producing components locally, to the point where 50% of the vehicle is made in Australia.

The two parties will also collaborate to facilitate advanced engineering and electric mobility research and development, as well as promote Australia as a leader in research and development of electric vehicle technology.

The start-up, backed by corporate partners in Germany and Taiwan, showcased the all-electric cargo van for the first time earlier this year during MTA Queensland’s signature innovation event, Carmageddon at Eight Mile Plains and has gone from strength to strength since.

Following their official launch in Sydney in March, ACE-EV signed an agreement with Adelaide’s Aldom Motor Body Builders to take production of the vehicles to Adelaide.

ACE-EV Group Managing Director Greg McGarvie said this agreement had the potential for lasting ramifications on the electric vehicle industry.

“We are focused on building and extending the nation’s EV capability so that Australia can take a leading role in the global transition to low emission transport and create jobs for the future,” said McGarvie.

“This international agreement that not only unites R&D facilities in Stuttgart and Ningbo with Flinders University but now allows our Adelaide based company ACE Electric Vehicle to set up a specialist design studio for Composite Electric Vehicles.

“It will ensure Australia accelerates opportunities in EV and charging equipment assembly, component manufacture, design, engineering and research. As a result, South Australia will soon have a significant R&D centre at Tonsley Innovation District sharing advanced technology research with ACE-EV Group partners in Stuttgart and Ningbo.”

Director of Flinders University’s Australian Industrial Transformation Institute, Professor John Spoehr, said Flinders University was excited to provide expertise in research and development to a project that could shape the electric vehicle industry in Australia.

“It represents an important step in the potential revival of the Australian automotive industry,” said Professor Spoehr.

“We’re seeing a seismic shift in the global automotive industry to vastly different vehicles. Currently the van’s components are sourced from multiple places, but assembly can occur in destination markets provided the necessary manufacturing skills base is present.”

“Flinders will bring its research expertise to a range of potential applications, from 3D manufacturing of components and development of futuristic composite materials to onboard vehicle systems and advanced i4.0 manufacturing assembly processes.”

“We also have expertise in autonomous vehicles and that could potentially be another aspect of future development.”

ACE-EV currently has three models in development, the ACE Cargo, ACE Yewt and ACE Urban, with plans to begin production with the goal of producing 15,000 vehicles per year by 2025.

Mr McGarvie says the range of vehicles have been developed with a ‘business on wheels’ model in mind.

“Our Business on Wheels model that moves goods, people and energy is generating significant interest internationally, and the green shoots of opportunity will grow into new jobs and export growth as ACE-EV Group responds to international demand.”

“Looking ahead, we could foresee these vehicles – lightweight, low maintenance and low running costs – as ideal fleet vehicles, or for tradies,” said Spoehr.

ACE-EV will now continue working towards the release of its first commercially available vehicle in collaboration with Flinders University, while aiming to raise $5 million in capital to make the rollout a reality.

18 Oct 2019