GoAuto has a look at a proof of concept being run by some ex GM Holden executives looking to produce an electric version of the Holden Commodore - Consortium to build electric Commodore test fleet
A CONSORTIUM of five leading Australian automotive suppliers with global connections has formed a company to drive engineering research into electric vehicles – a $26 million project that they hope will not only generate cutting-edge technologies but culminate in an Australian-built rear-drive electric large car.
The new Melbourne-based company, EV Engineering Limited, says it will build seven proof-of-concept full-electric Holden Commodores by the middle of 2012, funded partly by a $3.5 million grant from the federal government’s now defunct Green Car Innovation Fund (GCIF).
Holden is involved only on the periphery of the project by providing some engineering support and use of its Lang Lang proving ground, but the new company has strong Holden flavour, with several former Holden senior executives heading the project, including Rob McEniry and Ian McCleave.
Among the major partners in the consortium are automotive component suppliers Futuris and its partner Air International, Bosch and Continental, along with EV charging network company Better Place Australia. Each are providing both financial and technical support. ...
Although the federal government has killed the GCIF and diverted future funding to flood damage restoration, this new project managed to squeeze through the door before it was slammed shut.
Announcing the grant, innovation and industry minister Kim Carr said the global electric vehicle market would be worth $2 trillion by 2020, and that Australia needed to take action to share in that business or risk being left behind.
He said that although the GCIF had been discontinued, the government would continue to fund the transformation of the motor industry to ensure that Australia remained one of only 15 countries with the capability of taking a new vehicle from concept to production.
Mr Carr said he was particularly interested in maintaining Australia’s motor industry as a major export force to markets such as the Middle East. ...
The concept for the EV consortium is believed to be the brainchild of EV charging infrastructure company Better Place, headed by former Labor state politician Evan Thornley and Alison Terry - the latter a former Holden executive director of corporate affairs.
Better Place, which is set to start roll-out of its national charging and battery-switching network in Canberra late this year, will provide charging technology support.
Mr Thornley said large-car owners had the most to gain from switching to electric propulsion, as they spent the most money on fuel.
He said Australia was in a unique position to take a lead role in rear-drive electric vehicle development, as Australia’s motor industry was largely built around such vehicles.