With the delivery of the first of nine fully electric vehicles to Kings Transport, Melbourne company SEA Electric has officially put Australia on the global electric mobility map.
Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, joined Kings Transport executives today as they received the keys to the first road-ready SEA vehicle – a locally developed ten-tonne rigid truck with an estimated range of just under 200km per charge.
Based on an existing cab chassis, the vehicle as been retrofitted with SEA Electric’s modular driveline technology, which the company’s Executive Chairman, Tony Fairweather, said was entirely developed in Australia.
“We are proud to deliver the first 100 per cent electric vehicle to Kings Transport today,” he said, adding the company’s strategic goal was to license the technology to a range of medium-duty OEMs in the future, next to supplying vehicles to market directly.
“[Our product line-up is] targeted at the small- to medium-sized commercial vehicle segment, where transport businesses operate relatively fixed route applications with overnight layovers, which is the perfect application for electric vehicles.”
Referring to last week’s announcement by Volvo Cars that all of the company’s new models from 2019 will include an element of electric vehicle technology, Fairweather said the time had come for the internal combustion engine to make way for a more efficient, emission-free alternative.
Fairweather shared that he was "disappointed" about how little support electric drive technology had received in the past, especially compared with New Zealand, but added it was encouraging to have Minister D’Ambrosio at the launch to start afresh. "The Victorian Government is more progressive on the topic and sees the potential of what we’re trying to achieve.”
Minister D’Ambrosio congratulated SEA Electric and Kings Transport on pushing the innovation envelope, saying the two companies’ joint achievement demonstrated “what can happen when you have a vision and follow through with it.”
She added that the establishment of SEA Electric in Victoria “clearly tells us that industry is alive and well in Australia”, adding that innovation was key to economic growth in the State.
“SEA Electric is setting a great example of how local manufacturers can embrace new technology,” she said, praising the Dandenong-based company for making the transition into an electric future more affordable for Australian fleets.
SEA Electric will be offering three models in Australia going forward, an electric light van called E4V, a nine to 11-tonne rigid named EV10 and a 12 to 15-tonne rigid sold as the EV10.
Every model uses proprietary ‘SEA-Drive’ technology capable of achieving a 200km operating range on a single charge, which Fairweather said would take between four and six hours.
Fairweather, who said installing the technology would currently take about a week per vehicle, used the occasion to announce that SEA Electric is already in “promising talks” with Iveco Australia and a range of New Zealand-based waste management companies to make its technology available to a broader audience.
Leading up to the launch, SEA Electric had received a $500,000 grant out of the Victorian Government’s new Energy Jobs Fund. “It’s exciting to see a tangible example of how the New Energy Jobs Fund can contribute to the Victorian economy,” Minister D’Ambrosio said. “This remarkable project continues to cement Victoria as an electric vehicle powerhouse.”
Tony Mellick, CEO of Kings Transport, concluded, “It is beyond question now that electric vehicles are going to be a substantial part of both the passenger and commercial vehicle sector in the…future. The question is simply how great, and SEA has positioned its business, Victoria and Australia to benefit from this exciting journey.”
Image (L-R): Kings Transport Chairman, George Savvides; SEA Electric Executive Chairman, Tony Fairweather; the Hon. Lily D'Ambrosio; Gabrielle Williams, State Member for Dandenong; SEA Electric Managing Director, Glenn Baird; and Kings Transport CEO, Tony Mellick.