Southern Tasmania-based Tasman Auto Electrics relies on an Isuzu NLS 45-150 All-Wheel Drive Crew in delivering its essential services entailing auto electrical and air conditioning repairs for customers in remote locations.
Founded in 2013 by young entrepreneur Nick Ward, Tasman Auto Electrics has a well-equipped workshop located in Sorell, east of Hobart, which looks after the metropolitan side of the business.
Much of the work is for commercial and rural clients, working in sectors like agriculture, earthworks and emergency services, who rely on Tasman’s expertise and specialised knowledge of heavy machinery and auto electrics.
The capability of Ward’s Isuzu All-Wheel Drive (AWD) Crew, complete with a unique, removable service body, enables the equipment of these clients to be serviced in some of the remotest locations in southern Tasmania.
“We do a bit of everything – car breakdowns, farm machinery, marine electrics, 24-hours emergency call outs, testing and tagging,” said Ward. “We service the whole of southern Tasmania – that’s a good 300km round trip.
“And it’s certainly not all sealed roads down here. There are paddocks, slushy mud, wet sand and a lot of gravel road driving. We need a vehicle that can carry everything and get us through anywhere.”
In 2018, Ward was determined to replace Tasman’s 4×4 utility with a more effective transport solution.
Searching for the golden ratio of payload, value for money, and suitability for Tasman’s on-road/off-road workload, he put a number of vehicles through their paces before turning to Webster Trucks in Hobart, where an Isuzu NLS 45-150 AWD Crew was recommended.
Ward admits it wasn’t love at first sight; he was sceptical about the practicality of a truck for both work and weekend play, and the ability of the on-demand, part-time all-wheel drive system to tackle low-traction environments compared with traditional four-wheel drive vehicles.
However, he was pleasantly surprised with the handling and predictability of the NLS and impressed with the independent torsion bar front suspension. Ultimately the very competitive purchase price got it over the line.
“We’re pretty regularly clocking up to 700 kilometres a week, that’s on-road and off-road,” said Ward. “When we have a farming client whose tractor has broken down in a paddock, we need to drive right through that paddock to get to the job and you just can’t do this in a conventional van or a two-wheel drive ute.
“At the same time, you need space for tools, spare parts, servicing materials, and in our case, a generator, so we can operate off-site without having to worry about plugging into mains power.”
Ward said compared to a 4×4 ute, it has a more suitable working height on the tray, can fit everything, handle tough terrain and drives like a car on the sealed road.
“The AWD function is easy: You simply lock the hubs on the front wheels and then just push a button on the dash to get it in gear.”
Webster Trucks helped Nick fit the vehicle with a lightweight, removable service body, which means he can drive the truck out from underneath the body.
“The service body has four points for leg stands, one on each corner. I just wind them up and they lift it off the tray of the truck,” said Ward, adding that he also appreciates the NLS AWD Crew’s safety features including Hill Start Aid, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and an ECE-R29 compliant cab.
He also loaded it with optional extras including a genuine Isuzu bullbar, SatNav, reversing camera and child-seat anchor points, and opted to take out Isuzu’s five-year Extended Care Program.