LINFOX trial electric truck developed by systems integrator SEA Electric for Woolworths Online and store deliveries.
As global interest in electric vehicles (EV) continues to grow, Linfox and its industry partners are working to accelerate uptake of the technology in Australia’s road transport sector.
Together with the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) and valued customers Woolworths and Australia Post, Linfox has helped form a working group dedicated to increasing industry engagement in EV technologies.
The ALC’s Electric Vehicles Working Group is focussed on setting industry priorities, identifying and navigating the barriers to uptake and supporting legislative and regulatory change.
As leaders in logistics, Linfox and the ALC appeared at the July Senate Inquiry into electric vehicles on behalf of the industry and provided recommendations and insights on the benefits of widespread adoption.
Earlier this year, Linfox Executive Chairman Peter Fox highlighted plans to make Linfox the first mover on electric vehicles, specifically electric trucks, subject to the development of supporting infrastructure and manufacturer supply of appropriate vehicles.
The plans are underpinned by Linfox’s 2007 commitment to reduce its environmental impact and advance technologies that deliver great outcomes for both customers and the planet.
To this end, Linfox is supporting customer and fellow ALC member Woolworths as it trials EV technologies at the Linfox owned Australian Automotive Research Centre in Anglesea.
The trial includes a fully electric truck developed by systems integrator SEA Electric for Woolworths Online and store deliveries. According to SEA Electric, the truck can travel more than 220 kilometres on one charge.
Linfox continues to work alongside the Electric Vehicle Council to engage key global suppliers to ensure the development of cost-effective, non-payload constrained EVs across several weight classes for use in the Australian market.
Linfox is paving the way for the introduction of EVs in its fleet by:
- trialling EVs at Linfox’s purpose-built facilities
- investing in renewable energy solutions to power EVs, including installing 500kW of solar panels in Linfox warehouses
- implementing EV material handling equipment at Linfox sites, and
- building EV requirements into new sites.
Labor has struck a confidential deal to build an electric vehicle factory in Morwell, bringing an estimated 500 manufacturing jobs to the Latrobe Valley.
The value of the five-year agreement between the Andrews government and Australian company SEA Electric has been kept secret but the deal has already been signed, meaning it will go ahead no matter the result of next month’s election.
It follows the loss of about 750 jobs in the region when the Hazelwood coal-fired power plant closed early last year.
Latrobe Valley residents who may have lost work when Hazelwood closed will be given the opportunity to train with SEA Electric through the government’s worker transition service.
“The announcement today … is all about making sure the Latrobe Valley is the national capital for electric vehicles,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.
“There will be jobs in the construction of the factory, and of course when you are producing 2400 vehicles a year there are great opportunities for more of that supply chain to be brought into this proud region.”
After spending Monday in his home town of Wangaratta, Mr Andrews boarded his campaign bus for the second day, heading to Morwell to announce the deal on Tuesday.
The seat of Morwell currently belongs to neither Labor nor the Coalition, with former Nationals MP Russell Northe leaving the party to represent the electorate as an independent.
Labor has designated Morwell a target seat, which means it gets a fully resourced field campaign.
The party held Morwell from 1970 to 2006, until Mr Northe won it for the Nationals.
It could be a pivotal seat for the Coalition if it is to defeat the government at the November election.
The Nationals have preselected former Latrobe City councillor Sheridan Bond. Mark Richards, a former Hazelwood employee, is running for Labor.
Former senator Ricky Muir will also contest the seat for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. Mr Northe, who holds the seat by 1.8 per cent, has not yet declared whether he will fight another election.
The car manufacturing deal was being kept commercial-in-confidence to preserve Victoria’s competitive advantage, Mr Andrews said.
“I think Victorians understand that we can’t be telling all of our competitors and setting the price if you like,” he said. “We need to make sure that we get good value and we have.”
Ben Carroll, the Minister for Industry, said the auto sector would change more in the next five years than it has in the past 50, and the deal would set Morwell up to be part of that change.
A site for construction of the factory is yet to be confirmed, but SEA Electric group managing director Tony Fairweather said it could be up and running within a year.
“We’d hope in around 12 months,” he said.
The company already has a factory in Dandenong where it assembles electric delivery vans and minibuses.
About 2400 electric vehicles would be assembled at the plant annually, with potential to ramp up production in coming years.
Thirty per cent of the vehicles would be made locally, Mr Fairweather said, because some components of electric vehicles are not made in Australia.
But he said there was potential to boost the level of local content as production increases in coming years.
Tony Fairweather, managing director of electric vehicle maker SEA Electric, is eyeing a $200 million-plus opportunity for delivery vans that the company aims to assemble in the Latrobe Valley after snaring an undisclosed subsidy from Victoria’s Andrews government.
Premier Daniel Andrews said SEA Electric would build a plant capable of producing 2400 four-tonne electric vans and commuter buses at a site near Morwell in the heart of the Latrobe Valley, a community that faces years of jobs losses as brown coal power stations close over the next two decades.
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A purely Australian effort, it is independent of Isuzu’s Japan-focused Elf EV light commercial project EV previewed at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show but comes with the blessing of headquarters in Tokyo.
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