It was a very sad day for Australia’s automotive industry back in 2017 when the last ever vehicle – produced by GM’s Holden brand – closed its doors. Small volumes, high labour costs and Free Trade Agreements that saw more than two million Thai-made vehicles imported into the country became the final nail in the coffin for Australian car manufacturing.
As you can expect, this was enough to shut many ‘big name’ plants, including global brands such as Toyota and Ford. Alas, there was nothing the country could do.
But now it seems as if there could be a revival of the region, as the first all-electric vehicle assembled in Australia will be launched in Sydney next week. This is welcome news, as Australia works towards a home-grown EV industry that will fill the empty space left by the departed conventional car industry.
Introducing the Australian Clean Energy Electric Vehicle (ACE-EV) team.
The company, headed up by Gregory McGarvie (centre), will reveal an electric cargo vehicle at the Smart Energy Expo in Sydney. It will be the first of four planned EVs.
The 3.9-metre long cargo vehicle uses a 33kWh battery that offers 250km on a single charge, which enables it to lower fleet greenhouse gas emissions by 70% and running costs by 85%.
Gregory McGarvie, Managing Director at ACE EV Group, says: “It’s quiet, it’s not a smoker, it’s a great cargo and parcel transfer asset, it’s greener than most, it’s economical, it’s practical. It’s assembled in Australia the ACE Cargo the first in a series of models for Australia only 100 available for order in 2019.”
Former Liberal Party leader John Hewson and the Olympian taking on Tony Abbott for his job, Zali Steggall, teamed together to back Australian-made electric vehicles – just a day after federal Labor launched a new climate change policy, which aims to make half of all new cars sold electric by 2030.
“This could be a new era for the automotive industry in Australia, bringing back manufacturing,” says Stegall. “It’s disappointing that EVs only make up around 0.2% of Australia’s cars, it’s time that changed.”
McGarvie believes that, following the launch of the ecargo van, the Government needs to support ACE-EV Group and Australia’s transition into the global e-mobility market, strengthening partnerships with German and Taiwanese partners.
“Opportunity is knocking to advance plans for clever career paths, supply chains and an advanced RHD manufacturing base in Australia,” he says.
“A key plank for future success is an Australian research and development division, linked to partner research facilities in Germany and Ningbo. That division will be created here by Gerhard Kurr.”
“Which politician has the courage and foresight to step forward and be counted, is prepared to lead, so our grandchildren have a brighter future?” McGarvie continues.
It is evident that the public is keen to support ACE-EV and the ecosystem being built around the company. But, without the appropriate government backing, innovative and progressive companies like this will not survive.