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Australian auto manufacturing industry collaborating on electric vehicles; launch of EV Engineering Ltd.
25 February 2011
Leading companies in the Australian automotive manufacturing industry are collaborating on the design and engineering of electric vehicles with the launch of EV Engineering Ltd. EV Engineering will design and engineer seven proof-of-concept fully-electric versions of Australia’s number-one selling passenger vehicle, the Holden Commodore. This project will take place over a 15-month period.
EV Engineering Limited comprises major automotive components suppliers Air International, Bosch, Continental and Futuris and electric vehicle infrastructure and services provider Better Place with the support of Holden (a GM operation) and Australia’s CSIRO.
The proof-of-concept vehicles will be powered by renewable energy using standard electric vehicle plug-in and battery switching infrastructure. They will be used to investigate technical viability and attractiveness to customers so that consideration for mass production can be undertaken. Specific project goals include:
Deliver zero emissions motoring when powered by renewable electricity and greater than 30% reduction in CO2 emissions when powered on grid average electricity.
Deliver the same high standards of safety and feature available in this class of vehicle while delivering comparable performance.
Be designed for a manufacturing cost equivalent to top selling gasoline vehicles in this class, without battery. (Batteries will be included as part of monthly electric vehicle charge network subscriptions, replacing gasoline costs.)
Be capable of accessing both EV charge spots and battery switch stations for unlimited range extension. Additionally, the project will help to develop electric vehicle engineering skills and components within the Australian supplier industry for potential export to car makers globally, with opportunities including battery pack design and thermal management systems.
Consistent with the direction of the Automotive Australia 2020 roadmap, EV Engineering Limited represents the first industry collaboration on large, powerful, zero-emissions vehicles. According to the chairman of EV Engineering Limited and former President and CEO of Mitsubishi Australia, Robert McEniry, electric vehicles represent an exciting opportunity and important part of the future of the Australian car manufacturing industry.
This collaboration is evidence that the local manufacturing and automotive industries have recognized the important role these vehicles will play in their future. EV Engineering Limited builds on the existing strengths of the industry in large sized passenger vehicles for both domestic and export markets. This initiative will strengthen the local capabilities and give Australia the opportunity to lead the world in the development of large, powerful, zero emissions vehicles, and ensure we remain globally competitive in this sustainable, high growth market.—Robert McEniry
Members of EV Engineering Limited are backing the project with financial and in-kind contributions and substantial access to IP, and engineering support. Funding of A$3.5 million to be allocated to engineering costs, will be provided from the Australian Government’s Green Car Innovation Fund (GCIF).
This project will help develop electric vehicle engineering skills, capabilities and components within the Australian supplier industry. By their involvement, each of the partners makes a clear statement. They believe there is a place for the Australian industry to participate in the exciting new developments surrounding the electrification of the motor vehicle. By developing the skills and capability here, the partners will be in a good position to exploit opportunities as vehicle manufacturers further extend their portfolio of electric vehicles.—Gavin Smith, Regional President of Powertrain and Chassis Systems Control at Bosch Australia
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