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.
Nearly half of Australian fleet managers would consider incorporating electric vehicles in their fleet, a survey conducted by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation has shown.
Of those, 40 per cent of Australian fleet buyer will turn to EVs within the next three months(!!!), and 50 per cent within the next two years.
Reductions in fuel and maintenance costs, as well as vehicle emissions, were given as the main reasons for switching to EV, according to those surveyed at the recent EV Drive Day held at Melbourne’s Albert Park.
After test driving an electric vehicle, the number of fleet managers and buyers likely to consider EVs rose to 82 per cent.
Barriers to making the EV plunge were, unsurprisingly, identified as higher upfront costs of electric vehicles, access to charging infrastructure, and also uncertain resale value.
Over 40 businesses and a total of 60 fleet managers and buyers were surveyed by the CEFC, almost half of which have over 250 vehicles in their fleets.
With 19,000 Australian fleets comprised of over 20 vehicles or more equaling an estimated 2.1 million vehicles (over 10 per cent of the nation’s vehicles in total, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics), the figures are significant.
“Electric vehicles offer an exciting opportunity to tackle our greenhouse gas emissions, from family cars through to light commercial vehicles and heavy-duty trucks,” says CEFC chief Ian Learmouth.
“We see fleet buyers and managers as having a critical role to play in accelerating the switch to electric vehicles.
They have strong purchasing power, which can help drive down costs. With their focus on operational efficiency and cost, they can also help demonstrate the benefits of electric vehicles compared with diesel and petrol-powered engines,” he says.
Australasian Fleet Management Association boss Mace Hartley said, “Another very important development in this market is the increasing range of commercial vehicles now available, from smaller-scale buses and vans to heavy duty trucks and electric garbage trucks.
“We’re also seeing increasingly advanced technology and safety features that have important benefits to fleet buyers, alongside the benefits of cutting vehicle emissions.” READ MORE
Electric propulsion made more inroads into the Australian mainstream following the announcement of a grant towards automotive technology company SEA Electric building a manufacturing plant in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.
The plant is to be capable of producing 2,400 vehicles per year at full production, employing around 500 people and producing annual revenue of between $200 million and $240 million.
The grant comes from a $266 million Latrobe Valley support package established for a region facing job losses after the decommissioning of Hazelwood’s brown coal-fuelled power station, and the general decline of the Australian automotive manufacturing industry.
As part of the investment, retrenched workers from other industries will be transitioned towards electric vehicle and component production in Australia.
“This investment will see the Latrobe Valley rightly called the capital of electric vehicle manufacturing in Australia,” Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said at the announcement.
SEA Electric has been at the forefront of electric technology locally. Most recently, its product was showcased the launch of an electric waste truck for Victorian council City of Casey. READ MORE
An Australian company will produce thousands of delivery vans and minibuses every year from a new electric vehicle factory in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.
The Victorian government announced the plan with Melbourne-based SEA Electric on Tuesday.
SEA Electric has already developed a range of electric drivetrain models for commercial and delivery vehicle market. The company has a factory in Dandenong where it assembles electric delivery vans and mini buses.
About five years ago SEA made a decision to invest heavily in electric vehicle (or “EV”) tech so it would be ready to start production when the cost of lithium-ion batteries dropped below $US300/kwH.
“That was our milestone — it was a milestone for other big original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as well — set by a range of analysts back in 2010,” SEA Electric boss Tony Fairweather told Stockhead.
The forecast was $US300KwH by 2025 – but it actually happened in December 2016.
“We were ready and came to market in January 2017 – we have been swimming quickly ever since,” Mr Fairweather says. READ MORE
About 500 jobs are set to be created in the Latrobe Valley, with the Victorian Government announcing a deal to bring the manufacturing of electric vehicles to the region.
The Australian-owned SEA Electric will set up the factory in Morwell, in the state’s east, with the first vehicle expected to roll off the production line in about a year.
The company aims to eventually assemble up to 5,000 per year at the site.
As well as meeting the country’s growing demand for electric cars, the deal is expected to create hundreds of jobs
“Our announcement today, the partnership with SEA Electric, is all about making sure the Latrobe Valley is the national capital for electric vehicles,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.
“We said we would stand with the Latrobe Valley, we’d back the Latrobe Valley, that’s exactly what we’ve done.”
SEA Electric executive chairman Tony Fairweather said the company was close to choosing an exact site for the factory, and planned to start training up local workers at its Dandenong plant as soon as possible.
“We’re also well advanced with starting the recruitment process for Latrobe Valley residents that are willing to … start working with SEA Electric immediately in our Dandenong facility with the ability to transition back into the Latrobe Valley facility once it’s ready,” he said.
The announcement is not an election promise, and Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said the deal would go ahead regardless of who won the November 24 poll.
Jobs are a key concern in the marginal seat of Morwell, which has been hit hard by the closure of the Hazelwood power station last year.
Government support for the deal has come from the $266 million Latrobe Valley Support Package, though Mr Andrews refused to detail how much the Government had provided.
Other car manufacturers have taken government support, only to close down local production.
Mr Andrews would not say what conditions were attached to the Government’s commitment. READ MORE
South-east Melbourne’s City of Casey will be the first Australian council to feature a 100 per cent electric truck in operation, with the first residential hard-rubbish waste collection vehicle set for service this month.
Launched at the Waste Expo Australia today in an all-local collaboration, waste management company WM Waste Management Services took delivery of the trucks, which are stripped-back Iveco Acco and Mercedes-Benz Econic cab-chassis fitted with a drivetrain and associated components by Dandenong-based SEA Electric, and a rear loader and compactor built by Queensland-based Superior Pak.
The vehicles contain 220kWh NMC batteries, allowing for a range of about 250 kilometres on a 23,500 gross vehicle mass with a limited top speed of 100km/h.
A 22kW onboard charger allows the truck to be plugged in and charged from any three-phase power source, and a full charge takes eight hours, although rapid-charging options are said to be explored.
The battery life is estimated to be 3,500 charge cycles or operational life of 10 years in day-to-day applications.
WM Waste had previously taken delivery of the first hybrid trucks in 2008 and managing director Mark Jeffs says the company continues to seek out innovation and sustainability in its operations. READ MORE
The era of the electric vehicle is approaching and the Commonwealth needs the right policies and infrastructure in place, experts say.
A parliamentary inquiry into electric vehicles has heard that electric vehicles will likely be cheaper in Australia than internal combustion engine cars by as soon as 2024.
The falling cost of electric vehicles will drive significant uptake of the vehicles in the near future, according to Ali Asghar, senior associate of power, energy storage and electric vehicles at Bloomberg.
“The cost is falling fast,” Mr Asghar told the inquiry. “Electric vehicles are likely to become cheaper than internal combustion engine cars as soon as 2024. This is mainly a result of cost declines in the major cost component in electric vehicles: batteries.”
Australia’s uptake of electric vehicles to date has been “sluggish” compared to the rest of the world, he said.
“In Australia, the major reasons [for poor uptake] are the cost of electric vehicles, lack of policy measures and then lack of model availability. The lack of model availability is tied to policy measures, because car manufacturers won’t bring in cars to the market if they don’t think that they will be sold here,” Mr Asghar said.
Policy must support uptake
Tony Fairweather, group manager of SEA Electric, told the inquiry that Australia is in the midst of an “electric vehicle revolution” and said governments needed to act fast.
“There is no point putting our head in the sand… the electric vehicle transition is occurring,” he said.
In his submission Mr Fairweather called on the government to introduce measures – such as subsidies, rebates, a zero stamp duty or registration waver – to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles. READ MORE
The Iveco ACCO is not a machine that is normally associated with cutting-edge tech.
But the tried and true Aussie-built offering is suddenly at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution!
Iveco has just confirmed an ACCO with a fully electric powertrain will be on show at the upcoming ‘Waste Expo Australia’ event in Melbourne.
And this isn’t a concept – you can order your own already!
The model, best known for its decades of service on agitator and waste collection duties, steps into the 21st century with an electric powertrain developed locally by Superior Pak and SEA Electric.
The waste body manufacturer and the Australian electric drivetrain manufacturer have given the ACCO a SEA-Drive™ 180 electric driveline that provides the vehicle with a range of approximately 250 kilometres at full GVM (up to 23.5t).
The vehicle features a 22kW on-board charger allowing the truck to be plugged-in and charged from any three-phase power source.
Battery charging time from totally flat to full charge is approximately eight hours.
Battery longevity is calculated at 3,500 charge cycles, giving it a life of over 10 years based on a single charge, five days per week.
They tell us the remainder of the driveline is virtually maintenance-free.
While the fully-electric ACCO will cost more than a standard diesel model, SEA Electric say operators can recoup the extra outlay through lower operating costs after just four years. READ MORE
A waste truck propelled by battery electric power will debut at Waste Expo Australia in October.
The IVECO ACCO, a diesel-free waste truck with an electric drivetrain from SEA Electric, is an Australia-first joint project involving waste body equipment specialist Superior Pak.
It will be unveiled at the three-day event to be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The two-in-one body incorporates an industrial cage with electric ramp for lifting white goods and heavy items.
A more traditional compactor body at the rear is designed for use on hard waste collections in the City of Casey in Melbourne.
Available to order shortly following the expo, the ACCO is powered by SEA-Drive 180 electric driveline, featuring a 220kWh NMC batteries.
At a gross vehicle mass of up to 23.5 tonne the vehicle is specified to a range of 250 kilometres at a limited top speed of 100 kph.
The truck can be plugged in via a 22kw on-board charger from any three-phase power source.
A full battery charge takes approximately eight hours.
Battery life has been calculated at 3,500 charge cycles, tantamount to 10 years of service at five days a week.
Rob Wrigley, Superior Pak Managing Director, said the local EV program had been propelled by recent success achieved in a similar project in New Zealand, along with an increased interest in Australia for electric commercial vehicles.
“We’ve had a similar electric powered collection vehicle operating in New Zealand for some time now, and the owners are very pleased with the performance,” he said.
“The payback on the vehicle is attractive as is the low operating costs and lower total cost of ownership.” READ MORE
Australian automotive technology company, SEA Electric, has opened a new facility in Melbourne to bolster its electric vehicle production capabilities.
The new location is 13 Advantage Drive, Dandenong South.
SEA Electric has developed a proprietary electric driveline technology for the commercial vehicle sector, with five SEA-Drive drivetrains targeted at electrifying the distribution vehicle segment from delivery vans to 23.5-tonne Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) 6×4 rubbish/agitator vehicles.
SEA Electric Group Managing Director, Tony Fairweather, said the SEA-Drive technology is unique in a number of ways.
“It has been developed on flexible architecture, allowing both the optimisation of the energy consumption for each sub-system, like air conditioning, while also allowing a framework upon which new developments in sub-system hardware can be introduced and adapted in the future.
“This results in a ‘live’ system, whereby continuous improvement is possible, which ultimately de-risks the purchasing decision for fleet buyers,” he said – adding that mid-mounted batteries provide optimised vehicle balance and future-proofing against expected side impact legislation. “An on-board charger removes the need for external charging infrastructure which is one of the most contentious purchasing issues with EVs. Our SEA-Drive system only requires a standard three-phase, 32A power point to charge, which are readily available in commercial properties around the world and can be installed anywhere at very little cost. We therefore have the largest charging network in the world, as already established.” READ MORE