SEA Electric Launches Australia’s First Locally Assembled Electric Trucks

The electric vehicle revolution, while turning slowly in Australia, is at least turning, and news last month was encouraging with the announcement from Melbourne-based electric commercial vehicle specialist SEA Electric that it has begun the commercial production of electric trucks.

Two SEA Electric-badged vehicles – the SEA 300 and SEA 500 which are based on the Hino 500 Series and Hino 300 Series models – are now available for purchase.

The trucks are powered by SEA Electric’s SEA-Drive Power-System – which is available in various performance and range packages to suit applications from 4.5 tonne car licence vehicles through to 22.5 tonne 3-axle trucks.

Previously only available as a retrofit option for existing diesel vehicles, the trucks are assembled from Semi Knocked Down (SKD) kits, complete with a fully integrated SEA-Drive Power-System from new.

The company says that real-world testing of in-service vehicles that travel up to 1000km per week has revealed daily recharging costs of less than $14 per day using standard off-peak electricity prices of 15c per kWh.

SEA Electric also says that the system is future proofed with an upgradable plug and play architecture, meaning it can be charged using the world’s biggest charging network, which is 415V 3-phase power via the truck’s standard on-board charging equipment, with optional DC fast charging also available.

The fast-charging option enables a charging rate four times faster than standard, meaning range extending top-ups could be delivered during lunch hour or vehicle loading.

According to the company, interest in the two electric-truck options has been excellent.

“SEA Electric is privileged to be able to bring this Australian first to the marketplace,” said Glen Walker, SEA Electric Regional Director for Oceania.

“These trucks truly meet a need in the marketplace, and prior to this launch, we have received pre-orders for 46 vehicles from some of Australia’s biggest companies and councils.

“It represents an exciting phase in global EV development, and this places SEA Electric at the forefront.

“Our electric Power System features a host of key features, including smooth application of torque, industry-leading range, whisper quiet operation, and importantly, a reduction in the truck’s carbon footprint, with zero emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane,” added Mr Walker.

“SEA-Drive technology performs exceptionally well in congested urban environments, where pollution reduction is needed most, and as demonstrated by real-world experience from our global vehicle deployments it provides competitive whole of life operating costs when compared to traditional diesel vehicles.”

Operating costs, pollution reduction and possible future income streams are all part of the chatter about electric vehicles in general, and SEA electric makes the point that, in the commercial setting, such considerations are even more potent.

“There are a range of advantages provided by the SEA-Drive Power-System, including reduced service costs, with a routine four-hour inspection required every six months, and minimal wear on service brakes due to the use of regenerative braking,” Mr Walker.

“In Australia, carbon dioxide emissions from transport are now the second highest behind electricity generation, and are forecast to continue rising.

“With this announcement, the freight industry can now react – safe in the knowledge that their freight product offering will be enhanced in their clients’ eyes.

“Mass uptake of electric trucks in urban Australia has the potential to save millions of tonnes of CO2 each year, and provide up to 40,000 MWh of mobile battery storage, which is a potential future revenue stream.”

The SEA 300 and SEA 500 ARE currently on sale from 15 fully accredited SEA Electric dealers nationwide that can also provide service and parts support, including any work carried out under the standard three-year warranty.

Roadside Assistance will be available via industry leading provider NTI for the life of the warranty period.

Source: Motor Trader e-Magazine (April 2021)

8 April 2021

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