Glen Walker, the Vice President of Asia Pacific for SEA Electric has been joined the board of the Electric Vehicle Council, Australia’s peak body for the e-Mobility sector.
Walker leads SEA Electric’s operational activities in the region as Vice President of Asia Pacific, overseeing new products, design for manufacture, assembly systems, innovation and various product distribution channels.
Under Walker’s watch, SEA Electric has launched as an OEM, with its Melbourne assembly operation now producing a range of zero-emissions commercial vehicle solutions for sale through a nationwide dealer network.
“Over the past six years, the EVC has become the pre-eminent industry association representing the modern zero-emission mobility sector in Australia,” said Glen Walker.
“Through this time of transition, it has provided invaluable policy support across all levels of Government.
“I look forward to adding the unique perspective of zero-emission commercial vehicles to this conversation, supporting the EVC mission to accelerate Australia’s transition to sustainable vehicles.”
Walker has had years of experience as an executive in the automotive and transport fields, following an 18-year career at Kenworth Australia, which included roles as chief engineer of Kenworth Trucks and group operations and national sales for Kenworth Australia, he also spent three years on executive assignment with PACCAR in Seattle. More recently Walker has extensive experience working for major transport companies.
The EVC represents businesses producing, powering, and supporting EVs in Australia, and its aim is to make the electric vehicle market’ more affordable and competitive through a robust regulatory framework and increased consumer awareness’.
The EVC says it leads advocacy and research efforts, industry coordination, and harnesses innovation that builds confidence in EV systems.
Continue reading the full article at Truck & Bus News by Jon Thomson published on April 12, 2022.
Step aside Ford Ranger Raptor and Nissan Pro-4X Warrior! This electric truck might be the most Aussie-flavoured vehicle being built today
It will perhaps come as a surprise, but in Australia, where you can walk into several brands of car dealerships and order a brand-new electric vehicle, truck buyers do not have the same choices.
Despite the advantages of electrified trucks – and there are many in an urban environment – it seems odd that, with a couple of exceptions – Fuso and Volvo – no electric-truck manufacturer from anywhere in the world has set up shop in this country.
And even in the case of those two exceptions, both makers offer just one or two models respectively, limiting market penetration and consumer choice even further.
Certainly, globally, there are plenty of manufacturers of such things, but at this stage, no mainstream brand has really targeted the Australian truck market.
However, that’s not to say truck-fleet operators can’t get hold of a fully electric rigid truck up to 22.5 tonnes, and that’s all down to an innovative Australian company that has taken a novel approach to the issue.
SEA Electric Australia is the company, and what started as a business modifying conventional trucks to take them from diesel to electric power has since grown into a company employing 60 people, with a strategic alliance with Japanese giant Hino Trucks, and is producing about 50 trucks a year with plans to take that to 400 this calendar year.
SEA is also opening two plants in the USA and is about to list on the US Stock Exchange. Plans are also being drawn up for a manufacturing plant in Thailand and there’s been plenty of interest from Vietnam. There are also offices in London, prototypes testing for the Japanese market and operations across five continents.
Based in South Dandenong in outer-eastern Melbourne, and founded in Australia in 2012, the company started modifying donor trucks to a fully-electric driveline back in 2014. By 2016 things were starting to happen, and the last 18 months have been a whirlwind with the alliance formed with Hino Trucks (part of the Toyota empire).
The deal sees Hino ship semi-knocked down (SKD) trucks to SEA’s Dandenong plant, in the form of `gliders’ (trucks that are complete – but disassembled in this case – apart from the engine and driveline).
From there, the kits are assembled into bare chassis before being fitted with the SEA-developed electric driveline and, eventually a cabin and all the trimmings. Interestingly, the finished vehicles carry a SEA Electric VIN, not a Hino number.
The electric motors and batteries are sourced from China, but are built to SEA’s own specifications from prototypes engineered and built in Melbourne. And, crucially, all the development of the software that makes a modern EV possible was done in-house at SEA Electric Australia.
The SEA Electric product looks really no different from a conventional truck apart from elements such as not needing an air intake or exhaust pipe. Even the interior is pretty familiar, with just a couple of differences including a lack of a gear-shifter (there’s no transmission, after all, so three simple buttons suffice). But it’s clever beyond that with what was the lever for the exhaust brake being repurposed to operate the variable regenerative braking.
SEA Electric’s engineering team has also been praised globally (including by some competitors) for the way the vehicle is laid out. While many E-truck makers mount the battery-packs either side of the main ladder chassis (saddle-bag style), SEA uses that ladder structure to effect by mounting the battery packs within those main girders.
That gives the batteries much better protection from a side impact as well as sticking with the engineering principle of mass-centralisation. The battery-packs are split, with the second unit being placed over the front cross-member, exactly where the conventional engine and transmission would live. That has not only helped with the centre of gravity, but the mass of the batteries is close enough to that of the original driveline to mitigate the need to change suspension rates in the kit as it arrives from Hino.
WHICH TRUCKS AND WHY?
SEA Electric builds trucks ranging from a 4.5-tonne to 22.5 tonne rigid chassis. These are the trucks you’ll typically see delivering parcels, and pretty much anything else in an urban area. And it is this urban environment where an electric truck works the best.
That’s mainly for two reasons. The first is that while range is improving all the time, a battery-powered EV still has limitations. In the case of the SEA trucks, that range will depend on payload and fit-out, but will mostly fall between 200 and 350km. While that’s more than a typical urban truck will cover in a day, it doesn’t work logistically for long-range freight haulage.
Secondly, an electric driveline, with its ability to harvest the energy lost in braking in a conventional truck, is most efficient in stop-start and urban traffic flows.
Along with those factors, tailpipe pollution (of which an eTruck has none) is at its worst in a built-up area, so the advantages of a zero-emissions vehicle in that environment are impossible to ignore.
As far as performance goes, truck drivers all talk about torque, not horsepower. And that’s where the SEA product also excels. The instant torque of the electric motor means the EV doesn’t need a transmission, keeping cost, complexity and servicing costs down.
And after a quick ride-along in the SEA product with some experienced truck drivers, the broad consensus was that performance of the electric trucks is bang on the money. Typical power and torque figures are 108kW and 1000Nm to 125kW and 1500Nm. And that’s before we get to the reduced risk of hearing loss and lower stress levels thanks to the relative silence of the eTruck experience.
The elephant in the room, of course is the purchase price. Although payload and tare weights are not radically different, the SEA trucks are about 2.5 times more expensive to buy. So, for a conventional four-tonne truck costing $50,000, the SEA equivalent will be closer to $125,000.
But with that higher purchase price comes plenty of cost-saving potential, too.
Maintenance on an electric truck is much lower than for a conventional unit. The electric motor has no gearbox and is a simple, one-moving-part deal. Crucially, the maintenance that is required involves no oil apart form a differential oil-change about every 100,000km. Even the eTruck’s ability to regenerate power when slowing means that the vehicle’s brake rotors, drums and linings last a lot longer. In fact, at least twice as long according to SEA’s test drivers.
Battery packs are designed to last at least a decade and SEA Electric offers a three-year/150,000km warranty as well as a five-year battery warranty and three years of roadside assistance. The company even has a training program for first responders who need to be able to effectively deal with an eTruck that’s been involved in a crash.
According to SEA Electric president of Asia Pacific Bill Gillespie, there will be big growth in the electric-truck market in Australia across the rest of 2022 and into 2023.
“But at the moment, there’s no Federal or State Government support for zero-emission trucks,” he told Carsguide.
SEA Electric is one company that is lobbying for better support for this growing market segment, and Mr Gillespie is certain that “If the government gets behind electric trucks, finance companies will get behind it too”.
“Companies and government bodies now need to – and want to – go electric. Shareholders want it, management wants it and customers want it…”
It’s pretty easy to see that the move to electric medium and light trucks isn’t something that can be avoided. But it’s also great to see manufacturing returning to Australia in the transport industry. Of course, sentimentality has nothing to do with the success of a brand like SEA Electric, but based on the hard numbers, you can expect to see more eTrucks emptying garbage bins, delivering online shopping and maintaining parks and gardens. Even if you won’t hear them.
Continue reading the full article at CarsGuide by David Morely published on April 12, 2022.
EVs are in high demand as seen recently with EV Quarter 1 sales for passenger cars. With sales of passenger EVs on the rise, The Driven was invited to see what is happening in the EV commercial vehicles space at SEA Electric which designs, engineers and manufactures EV trucks here in Melbourne, Australia.
The fully 100% electric trucks that SEA Electric produces are based on the tried and tested Hino truck chassis which are renowned in the industry for light trucks – only without the noisy, smelly diesel engine.
On the day, SEA Electric had several of their zero-emission electric commercial vehicles on show to test drive examples that many of us would have seen in as diesel versions on our roads: Last-mile delivery truck, Cherry Picker and Crew Cab Truck for Maintenance Works.
Having been in many trucks (crew cabs, agitators and semi-trailers) as an engineer in my past life, it was refreshing to see the noisy diesel engines finally going electric.
On the inside, the trucks felt exactly like their diesel counterparts but more stable. The stability is due to the lower centre of gravity with the placement of the batteries. This was noticeable in the trips out in the hills of outer southeast Melbourne.
Off the line, most of these trucks were quicker than their diesel counterparts that I have been in many times. It also required less effort to get up to the required speed.
The transmission layout was also fairly well laid out and easy to operate. It didn’t take much time to get used to it and being electric, of course it was automatic.
This may not seem like a big deal but for those working many hours a day delivering goods, it’s a lot less tiring not having a clutch and a manual gearbox found in many current diesel fleets.
Many of the electric trucks we drove had a range of above 200kms with regenerative braking operating in their normal environments – which for many is around the city and suburbs with a bit of freeway driving.
Out of the SEA trucks we tested, one truck in particular was a bit older and has been used by a city council for over 2 years. This was a cherry picker that has been operated by the City of Whitehorse in inner-east Melbourne for maintenance purposes.
This truck had over 30,000kms on the clock and was immaculately kept by the team at Whitehorse council with all the tools and equipment still on board for our test drive. It was so easy to get used to driving it and felt easy to steer through the hills of Upper Beaconsfield.
The fact that this truck had been on the road for 2 years and drove so quietly with no rattles was a good sign in terms of the durability of electric trucks. One other noticeable difference was the lack of vibration that you get in ICE trucks. Being an EV truck, there was barely any vibration apart from the bumps in the roads.
Driving these trucks really help cement the fact that EV trucks are here, and having worked extensively in the transport sector I can see they could also be the answer to solve one of the biggest problems the industry faces – lack of young people wanting to be part of the industry.
Being quieter, easier to drive and with lower vibrations, these zero emission trucks present an opportunity for the industry to transform and be appealing to young people who are truly the future of commercial transport in Australia.
The last mile delivery trucks and the asset maintenance industries will need to make the shift to zero emission vehicles if we have any chance of reducing transport emissions, which today accounts for 19% of all emissions in Australia.
To get us there, we will need to adopt new technologies and the commercial transport sector will need to find solutions quickly. EV trucks from SEA Australia that are made in Australia to Australian conditions, may very well be one of those.
Read the full article at SEA charges up Australian electric truck transition published on April 8th, 2022 by Riz Akhtar.
Medium and heavy duty electric trucks are set to change the face of commercial transportation. Long viewed as significant contributors to air pollution and carbon emissions, trucks are evolving. Next-generation trucks will change that with zero emissions and high efficiency.
Green Car Journal has been documenting the evolution of light-duty, personal use transportation over the past three decades. A lot has changed over the years, with fuel efficiency now reaching previously-unexpected levels and electric cars achieving surprising momentum. While environmentally friendly vehicle choices have expanded greatly, the same can’t be said of commercial transportation. But there is significant movement in the form of electric trucks and potentially commercial vehicles running on hydrogen.
Today, legacy truck makers and smaller start-ups alike see the imperative to clean up commercial transportation. Chalk it up to increasing government regulation and the recognition that mitigating carbon emissions and climate change must be resolved on all levels. Not to mention, in these days of extraordinarily high fuel prices and petroleum supply volatility there is even greater reason to look toward new and cleaner answers for motor vehicles of all classes. Larger commercial vehicles are now part of the momentum.
Green Car Journal’s prestigious Green Car Awards™ have been recognizing new vehicle models exhibiting laudable environmental achievement for the past 17 years. Deserving light-duty vehicles were recognized in eight popular categories earlier in the 2022 model year auto show season. Now, it’s time to turn attention to the next frontier: medium- and heavy-duty commercial trucks.
While the mind’s eye can conjure images of large diesel trucks emitting plumes of soot from years past, this has been changing for the better through the application of advanced emissions technologies and alternative fuels. Now, there’s movement afoot to remake the image of medium- and heavy-duty trucks through electrification. The result? Silent, zero-carbon, powerful trucks running exclusively on batteries and electric motors, charging up in lieu of fueling with liquid hydrocarbons.
There’s no better example of this than Volvo’s zero-emission VNR Electric, a battery powered model that’s been undergoing trials through the Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) program over the past several years, conducted in partnership with the South Coast Air Quality Management District and a dozen other organizations. The result is the new production Volvo VNR Electric, Green Car Journal’s 2022 Commercial Green Truck of the Year™.
The Class 8 Volvo VNR Electric, based on Volvo Trucks’ popular VNR model, aims to provide a sustainable transportation strategy to fill local and regional distribution, pickup, and delivery needs. Power is provided by a 455 horsepower electric motor featuring 4,051 lb-ft peak torque that’s coupled to a two-speed I-Shift automatic transmission. Top speed is 68 mph. It’s available with six-battery pack options that provide up to a 275 mile driving range and comes with fast-charge capability that enables gaining up to 80 percent state-of-charge within 60 to 90 minutes. The VNR Electric is available in five straight truck and tractor configurations.
GREEN CAR PRODUCT OF EXCELLENCE WINNERS
There’s significant competition out there in the evolving field of ‘greener’ commercial trucks with environmental leadership exhibited in many high-profile ways. The following models are standouts being honored with Green Car Journal’s 2022 Green Car Product of Excellence™ award.
Freightliner eCascadia: This Class 8 electric truck is intended for short haul or last-mile delivery, regional deliver, and drayage. It features 500 horsepower and a 250 mile range.
International eMV: An electrified version of International’s proven MV medium-duty truck, the eMV features 215 continuous horsepower, a 135 mile range, and DC fast-charge capability.
Kenworth T680E: Available as a Class 8 tractor or straight truck, the zero-emission T680E features 536 horsepower, 1623 lb-ft torque, and a 150 mile electric driving range.
Lion Electric Lion6: The Lion6 is a Class 6 urban electric truck featuring 335 horsepower, 1800 lb-ft torque, a 252 kWh battery, and a driving range of up to 200 miles.
Mack LR Electric: The next-generation Mack LR Electric is a Class 8 truck aimed at refuse and recycling duty. It has a 376 kWh battery and twin electric motors producing 448 horsepower.
Nikola Tre BEV: Nikola’s Tre BEV is an all-electric Class 8 tractor for regional applications featuring 645 horsepower, a 753 kWh battery pack, and an operating range up to 350 miles.
Peterbilt 579EV: The 579EV is a Class 8 Day Cab configuration intended for short haul and drayage operations. It features 536 electric horsepower, a 396 kWh battery, and 150 mile range.
SEA Hino M5 EV: Sea Electric’s Hino truck-based M5 EV Class 5 electric truck integrates the company’s electric SEA-Drive Power System to provide 110 horsepower and a 200 mile range.
Read the full article at The Best! Electric Trucks Score Top Awards published on March 23, 2022.
The global leader in e-Mobility technology, SEA Electric, continues the push into the zero-emissions school bus space with the piloting of a Blue Bird Type C school bus powered by a SEA-Drive(R) 120b power-system.
The pure battery-electric Type C model can accommodate up to 84 passengers, offering school bus fleets with market-leading performance and value for money.
The technology underpinning the platform has been proven with more than 1.5 million miles of real-world telematics data, demonstrating SEA Electric to be a dependable business partner.
“More and more, schools are looking to the future with zero emissions school bus technology, reducing their carbon footprint while enhancing the air quality around their campuses and local areas,” said Mike Menyhart, SEA Electric’s President for the Americas and Chief Strategy Officer.
“In the history of SEA Electric, we have already seen an incredible movement to switch to electric school bus technology, and we are proud to service the marketplace with the most cost-effective all-electric power system in the world.”
“Outside of the sustainability factors, SEA Electric’s systems provide lower maintenance and ongoing operating costs, with fuel eliminated and fewer moving parts lowering service expenses and downtime.”
“Also, our unique battery technology, without the need for active thermal management and with mid-mounted batteries optimizing safety and operating costs.”
“Through the SEA Type C EV, schools across North America can take the step into the future, today.”
At the heart of the model is the SEA-Drive(R) 120b power-system, which has found favor in a wide range of commercial vehicle applications across the globe.
With a maximum power of 335hp and peak torque of 1,845lb-ft, the package has range of up to 150 miles between charges, more than enough for even the most demanding school bus route.
“After driving this pilot vehicle myself and comparing to a diesel equivalent driven the same day, it became abundantly clear that this transition must occur in scale and soon,” CEO and Founder of SEA Electric, Tony Fairweather said.
“With the ability to sell at a new Type C EV price of less than $200,000 per vehicle there is no excuse for fleets to not consider EV for any and all future purchases,” Fairweather continues.
“No need for incentives to justify this premium. The TCO provides the business case itself.”
The battery solution has a 138kWh capacity and a projected life cycle of more than 10 years, at which time it is envisioned that the cells would be repurposed for continued use.
Standard charging through the integrated onboard charger can be provided through Level 2, Single Phase (208/240 VAC) up to 19.2kW, while optional fast charging is achieved via standard CCS Type 1, Level 3, DC fast charging, at a rate of up to 100 kW.
Notably, the system is also Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) capable, paving the way for future power grid security and revenue opportunities.
Supporting all SEA Electric products is a five-year battery warranty, with systems also backed by a three year or 50,000 mile warranty.
Read the full article at Yahoo! News published on March 14, 2022.
SEA Electric debuted its SV6 EV step van for last‐mile deliveries at Work Truck Week in Indianapolis, Indiana.
At the heart of SEA Electric’s Class 6 SV6 EV is the SEA‐Drive power‐system, which provides range, driving performance, and environmental credentials, with zero local emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, or nitrous oxide.
Thanks to its medium‐voltage architecture and no requirement for active thermal mangement, SEA Electric’s solution is a light, cost‐effective, and efficient system available in the battery‐electric last‐mile delivery segment.
“Our mission is to eliminate approximately 2.5 billion pounds of CO2 emissions over the next five years,” said Tony Fairweather, founder and CEO of SEA Electric. “When compared to a traditional internal combustion engine vehicle, the benefits extend far beyond energy effiencies. From an operational perspective, lower maintenance and running costs are a given, with the elimination of diesel consumption and fewer moving parts minimising service costs. Our users can fully expect to recover any purchase price premium within a maximum five years, plus this return is often bolstered further depending on state or local initiatives available.”
The system’s management software is designed to optimize power distribution to the various sub‐systems of the vehicles, with this energy conservation backed up by passive and active stages of regenerative braking, which charge the medium voltage batteries while the vehicle slows.
For users, the switch to EV provides a comfortable work environment, with health and safety considerations including no noise, fumes, heat, or vibrations.
Powered by the SEA‐Drive 120b power‐system, the SEA SV6 EV covers applications with a GVWR up to 26,000 lbs. (Class 6), with its 335hp and 1,845 lb‐ft performance ratings capable of handling any situation.
The 138kWh battery pack for the platform delivers an unladen range of up to 170 miles, complete with vehicle‐to‐grid (V2G) charging capabilities, while also configured for fast charging at up to 100kW. The batteries come with a full five‐year warranty, with the warranty of the systems covering three years or 50,000 miles. The nature of the mid‐mounted batteries improves safety and driving dynamics, while also supplying power to all ancillary systems.
A mobile app and fleet portal will soon be released to complement the onboard telemetry. Plans are afoot for a Class 3, 4, and 5 step‐van solution (SEA SV3 EV, SEA SV4 EV, and SEA SV5 EV) as well.
Read the full article at Work Truck Online published on March 09, 2022.
The main focus for Melbourne electric vehicle drive train manufacturer Sea Electric has shifted to the United States – after all, you have to be close to your biggest markets.
But its Melbourne plant is busy pumping out electric trucks as the pictures show.
According to the company: “Our Melbourne factory is in full swing.
“Here’s to more EV trucks getting out onto our Australian roads and lowering carbon emissions.”
SEA Electric has a global presence, deploying product in seven countries including USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Indonesia and South Africa.
SEA Electric was founded in Australia in 2012 and headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, creating its proprietary SEA-Drive electric power-system (pictured, below) technology for the world’s urban delivery and distribution fleets.
SEA Electric launched its first model in 2017 and has since released several medium and heavy duty commercial electric vehicles including delivery trucks, garbage trucks, tipper trucks, tilt tray trucks, reefer trucks, cherry picker trucks, shuttle buses, cargo vans and passenger vans.
The SEA-Drive is adaptable to most OEM glider chassis from Class 3 to Class 8 (3.5t to 29t).
In 2020 SEA Electric partnered with Hino Trucks USA for ‘Project Z’, Hino’s path towards zero-emissions for medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks.
In March 2021 SEA Electric in Australia launched two SEA Electric badged vehicles, the SEA 300 EV and the SEA 500 EV to be sold through a dedicated SEA Electric dealer network of 15 dealerships in Australia.
Read the full article at AU Manufacturing published on March 02, 2022.
An extra $127.9 million will be available to support the integration of electric vehicle technologies into both light and heavy vehicle fleets.
That’s the latest announcement around the Australian Federal Government’s Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy from industry, energy and emissions reductions minister Angus Taylor while visiting SEA Electric’s Melbourne manufacturing facility.
The Australian electric truck manufacturer says it supports the Federal Government’s latest funding program for future fuel technologies for businesses.
The program will be managed by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), with the support also extending to the commercialisation of hydrogen as a transport fuel in fleets.
From SEA Electric’s perspective, government assistance to industry is essential in aiding the transition to EV technology, and subsequently for the country to achieve its net-zero carbon emissions goals.
“We commend minister Taylor and the Government for making this announcement,” SEA Electric Asia Pacific Region president Bill Gillespie says.
“Around the world, government assistance with regards to transitioning fleets to future fuels has been imperative to ensure the early uptake of the technology.
“Australia’s road freight sector accounts for 38% of the country’s total transport emissions, so political policy related to the conversion in this area to zero-emissions technology should be a priority,” he explains.
“Here at SEA Electric, we provide to the market a suite of solutions that are currently available, with credentials proven by millions of kilometres of real-world data.
“Best of all, with the manufacturing of these trucks taking place right here in Australia, we are keeping jobs on these shores.”
Founded in Australia in 2012, SEA Electric now features a global footprint including a New Zealand presence, with products deployed on five continents.
Read the full article at Auto Talk published on February 21, 2022.
Repowering 10,000 school buses & transitioning the nation’s 500,000 yellow school buses from diesel to electric presents some daunting math. Currently 95% run on diesel, 4% on propane, and less than 1% are electric.
If we started replacing each of the 35,000 diesel buses that turnover annually with an electric bus today, it would still take 15 years to transition the whole fleet. But because a new electric bus currently costs two-to-three times as much as a diesel one, only 1-2% of new buses come off the line with a plug and our timeline for full electrification stretches far into the future.
At the end of 2021, some big news provided hope for a new approach: instead of replacing an diesel school bus with a brand-new electric bus, the idea of converting some portion of existing bus fleet to electric power took off.
“It’s impossible to convert school bus fleets to electric with just new replacements,” says Tony Fairweather, CEO of SEA Electric. He believes that to get to an entire fleet of electric school buses anytime soon, we’ll need to convert 50% of existing diesel buses to run on clean electrons. SEA Electric and Midwest Transit Equipment (MTE) recently announced a plan to do just that and convert 10,000 diesel school buses to electric. If successful, this partnership could pioneer a mass scale repowering model where existing school buses get converted to electric for a fraction of the cost of a new electric school bus.
Over the past couple of years, diesel to electric retrofits (aka “repowers”) have demonstrated the potential to rapidly and cost-effectively electrify fleets. New York City’s first electric school buses were repowered, and companies like UES, Lightning E-motors, Bison EV, and Legacy EV have been laying the groundwork for retrofitting internal combustion engine vehicles for some time. But the MTE/SEA Electric deal will electrify buses on a whole new scale. It will take a trickle of repower projects and open the floodgates to deploying electric school buses in the thousands.
SEA Electric is based in Australia and has been converting a variety of fleet vehicles — from garbage trucks in New Zealand, to box trucks in Iowa — to electric since 2014. Fairweather notes how starting in a country like Australia, which has no incentives for electric vehicles, forced SEA Electric to be cutting edge and price-competitive to stay alive.
The company doesn’t make batteries or motors, but instead organizes a kit (machinery combined with a patented software) and engineers a conversion process. SEA Electric will apply its repowering kits to school buses for the first time as part of this deal. MTE will ship the buses (with internal combustion engines already removed) to certified “outfitters” in Indiana, North Carolina, and Minnesota who have assembly lines to complete the repowers. These former diesel school buses will receive new drivetrains, 138 kWh batteries, and come off the line as next-to-new electric buses. All of this for a price well under $100,000 — which is about a quarter of the cost of a new electric school bus. And unlike virtually every other purchased electric school bus, this deal also won’t require any incentives.
Based in Illinois, MTE is a large (its website says the biggest in the nation) distributor of buses. with over 400 employees — it sells and leases thousands of new/used school buses every year. MTE’s short term school bus leases typically last between one-to-four years and then the company takes the buses back for refurbishment. It’s at this point that SEA Electric will repower the vehicles.
Electrifying buses at this scale presents an important opportunity for reducing costs. Instead of having to build relationships with the 13,000 school districts across the country, repower manufacturers like SEA Electric can achieve a large scale of conversions by partnering with just a company like MTE. The large scale of conversions with MTE school buses is a reason SEA Electric can electrify a school bus for a quarter of the cost of a new electric bus.
SEA Electric and MTE plan to repower 400 buses in the first year of this five-year contract. If all goes well, the remaining 9,600 would be back-loaded to the final four years of the agreement. Even 400 repowered electric buses increases the number of electric buses currently on the road by 50%. The first repowered electric buses are scheduled to start rolling off the line this spring.
If both companies are successful and prove the model of price competitive, and repowering of diesel to electric school buses can conducted through dealerships, it could radically alter the trajectory that previously pushed school bus electrification too far into the future.
Read the full article at Clean Technica published on February 16, 2022.
The future of zero emissions logistics has arrived in Europe, with the launch of SEA Electric as a premier partner for powering commercial electric vehicles.
At the heart of the offering is the proprietary SEA-Drive® power system, which has found favour worldwide with market-leading performance, price and range. SEA Electric’s compatibility is unmatched in the commercial EV space, with an extensive range of SEA-Drive® power system models available, compatible with dozens of OEMs and hundreds of platforms globally, both for new installations and repowering existing vehicles to create a proven commercial EV solution.
The offering is the most cost-effective available on the market, both in terms of upfront investment and over the entire life cycle of the finished vehicle.
Repowering strategy for Electric Vehicles
SEA Electric’s proven repowering strategy also opens up significant opportunities for large fleets, seeking an improved long-term return on investment from their assets and obtaining top-tier green credentials.
Founded in Australia in 2012 and now headquartered in the United States, the company has expanded its presence to cover five continents, with a stated mission to eliminate 1.5 million kilograms of CO2 emissions over the next five years.
The company currently has the global capacity to supply the market with 60,000 systems annually, with early sales successes topped by an order for 10,000 units from Midwest Transit Equipment for use in North American school buses.
SEA Electric’s European base has been founded in England, with further operations being established in Italy, Spain, France and Germany to support the region, and advance their commercial EV solution.
Backing this global growth are strategic investments in SEA Electric from tier-one supplier Meritor and leading Canadian power control solutions manufacturer Exro Technologies. The next objective for the company is a Nasdaq listing.
Commercial EV solution
In 2017, SEA Electric launched its first commercial products following years of development and testing, with the relative reduction in battery kWh pricing, making the system commercially feasible without the need for incentives. This has seen the platform utilised in more than 1.2 million miles (2 million kilometres) of real-world driving, proving the system as a dependable business partner.
The simplicity of the design and the standardisation of sub-systems ensures optimal cost, mass savings, reliability, and duty-cycle performance across many platforms.
Some of the successful deployments for the technology to date include use in waste management, a range of delivery applications, refrigerated transportation, tipper truck, as an elevated working platform, tilt tray, and numerous van and bus configurations.
From an operational perspective, lower maintenance and running costs are possible, with diesel consumption eliminated and fewer moving parts minimising service costs and downtime.
Electrified hydraulic and refrigeration systems
Partnering with leading industry partners, SEA Electric has successfully electrified many hydraulic and refrigeration systems while also adding to the function of work trucks by installing standard power points, allowing for the vehicles to become mobile workshops.
Ready-made for the European market is the SEA N75 EV variant, with the system based on the popular Isuzu NPR light duty truck model.
Offering maximum power of 110kW and impressively up to 1,500Nm of torque, the SEA-Drive® 100 power system for the type has an unladen range potential of up to 180miles/290km between charges, making it ideal for stop-start urban use.
Further options based on the Isuzu N Series line will be unveiled in due course, while SEA Electric systems come with a five-year battery warranty and a three-year, 60,000miles/100,000km systems warranty.
Across the board, standard charging is made by a three-phase 32A onboard charger with a five-pin plug, rated at up to 22kW charging power.
Fast charging options are also available, which enable a charging rate four times faster than AC (up to 100kW), offering range-extending top-ups during lunch breaks or vehicle loading.
SEA-Drive® power system
The SEA-Drive® power system also has the future potential to provide V2G (vehicle-to-grid) capabilities, with energy being pushed back into the grid from the vehicle, paving the way to additional power grid stability when required.
The SEA Drive® power system layout features unique in-chassis mounted batteries, improving battery protection and driving dynamics by centralising weight and maintaining front to rear weight distribution for optimal foundation braking performance, providing a centre of gravity much like a conventional vehicle.
The upgradable plug and play nature of the SEA-Drive power system means that the vehicle’s capabilities can be continually improved.
From the driver’s seat, power is instantaneous and linear, providing outstanding performance from the moment the accelerator is depressed.
Another key feature of the SEA-Drive® power system is the use of regenerative braking, which not only tops up battery levels while the vehicle is in motion but also saves significant wear on service brakes.
The SEA-Drive® Power System provides both active and passive stage braking regeneration. The first stage is engaged by turning the electric motor into a generator when coasting without any pedals depressed, slowing the vehicle and charging the battery, in essence, similar to a diesel engine’s exhaust brake. The second stage is engaged during the initial depression of the brake pedal, whereby additional negative torque is applied to the motor. The traditional service brakes are only utilised when the brake pedal is fully depressed as the vehicle stops.
SEA Electric vehicles can also be configured with optional SEA-Connect Telematics, providing secure insight into vehicle and driver performance.
For further details, visit www.sea-electric.com/electric-trucks-europe/
Read the full article at Innovation News Network published on February 10, 2022.
Australia is ready to become a sustainable EV-making global powerhouse, the Australia Institute’s Carmichael Centre reports.
That’s provided the federal government acts swiftly and decisively, according to the centre’s latest research in its 60-page report Rebuilding Vehicle Manufacturing in Australia: Industrial Opportunities in an Electrified Future.
It says Australia has advantages to attract and retain EV manufacturing and rebuild the nation’s car-making capacity, but that potential will not be met without major government action.
“When it comes to creating an EV manufacturing sector, Australia enjoys advantages other nations would die for: rich reserves of lithium and rare earths, strong industrial infrastructure, a highly skilled workforce, powerful training capacity, abundant renewable energy options, and untapped consumer potential,” report lead author Dr Mark Dean says.
“And contrary to popular belief, we wouldn’t be starting from scratch. Thanks to the resilience of our remaining automotive manufacturing supply chain, a surprising amount of auto manufacturing work – including components, specialty vehicles, and engineering – still exists here.”
But Dean says his research found Australia’s advantages would count for little without significant government support.
The report’s recommendations include establishing an EV Manufacturing Industry Commission, using tax incentives to encourage firms involved in the extraction of key minerals – primarily lithium and rare earths – with local manufacturing capabilities, especially emerging Australian EV battery industries; and introducing a long-term strategy for vocational training, ensuring the establishment of skills to service major EV manufacturers looking to set up operations Australia.
Other include offering major global manufacturers incentives (tax incentives, access to infrastructure, potential public capital participation, and more) to global manufacturers to set up – especially in Australian regions undergoing transition from carbon-intensive industries.
Local procurement laws for the rapid electrification of government vehicle fleets should also be introduced, the report suggests.
“No nation builds a major industry without its government taking a proactive role. Our new research shows there’s no excuse for inaction, because there are a huge range of powerful levers our government could be pulling,” Dean says.
“If we capture the moment we’ll capture abundant benefits; creating tens of thousands of regional manufacturing jobs, reducing our dependence on raw resource extraction, reinforcing our accelerating transition toward non-polluting energy sources, and spurring innovation, research, and engineering activity in Australia. We just need our government to act.”
Australian e-mobility innovator SEA Electric supports the new report.
“SEA Electric commends the work of Dr Dean and the Carmichael Centre in preparing this report, and the light it shines on the potential for the EV manufacturing space here in Australia,” SEA Electric Asia Pacific Region president Bill Gillespie says.
“Since the closure of the Australian car manufacturing industry, there remains a sophisticated skills base locally, as evidenced in our local design and engineering team.
“The strong local uptake of electric cars in 2021 points to the possibilities, but in commercial vehicles, companies need to see a pathway from governments to be assured that they are investing in a sustainable emission technology for their fleets,” Gillespie explains.
“With around 20,000 diesel light and medium-duty trucks currently sold annually, Australia’s net-zero emissions goal by 2050 will not be met unless all governments take action to support the purchase of electric trucks.
“We back a framework from the various governments to incentivise Australian companies like SEA Electric to invest in what we know is a bright future.”
Read the full article at Auto Talk published on February 8, 2022.