Australian international electric truck-maker SEA Electric has signed a billion-dollar deal to convert 8500 Toyota HiLuxes and LandCruiser to EV for the mining industry by 2028.

    The company announced today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with a company focused on delivering electric mining vehicles called MEVCO – which has made a commitment to order the 8500 units over the next five years.

    The deal has a total value of close to A$1 billion.

    Update 12.30pm: SEA Electric has since confirmed the vehicles converted to EV will be based on new models, without divulging sourcing plans. “We look forward to sharing further details shortly,” the company added.

    Already more than half of the 2023 allocation of the Australian-developed BEV workhorses have been pre-sold, with demonstration models available in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

    The converted diesel utes will run SEA Electric’s proprietary SEA-Drive EV power-system – with medium‐voltage architecture and electronic thermal management – thereby eliminating local emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, or nitrous oxide.

    “For users, the switch to EV provides a comfortable work environment, with health and safety considerations including no noise, fumes, heat, or vibrations,” the brief added.

    We have enquired with SEA Electric asking how the vehicles will be sourced.

    SEA Electric says the system will be made available in various mining-specific designs for 4×4 and 4×2 configurations. An 88kWh battery provides 380km of range while the cheaper 60kWh battery delivers up to 260km.

    DC charging is available for the system, designed to supply up to 80 per cent battery power in less than an hour. All vehicles will come with a five-year factory warranty on the batteries.

    You can read all about SEA Electric in our previous piece here.

    “This is a pivotal partnership for the mining industry,” said MEVCO CEO Matt Cahir.

    “It enables the world’s leading EV technology for heavy and light commercial trucks to be commercialized on a scale that makes sense for the bespoke needs of the mining sector.

    “SEA Electric’s unique architecture is perfectly suited for the task, with the system’s high-torque characteristics ideally fit for purpose.”

    For SEA Electric the announcement is the logical next step in the company’s expansion beyond its converted Hino 300 light trucks, now assembled in Melbourne from semi knocked-down kits, using its patented EV drivetrain.

    MORE: Australian EV truck manufacturer to double production capacity

    “Across all industries, companies now understand they have a role to play in ensuring they are a part of the solution to the environmental problems we face,” said SEA Electric founder and CEO Tony Fairweather.

    “With the SEA-Drive power-system, we have developed technology that is perfectly adaptable to a wide range of commercial vehicle tasks that have typically been the domain of diesel-powered engines.

    “Through MEVCO, the mining industry will now be able to access cutting-edge technology, which delivers top performance and total cost of ownership prospects, all with sustainability at the forefront.

    “This deal is a significant step forward in Australia and shows just what is possible when it comes to electrifying the world’s fleets.”

    The SEA Electric and MEVCO deal is not the only example of electrified LandCruisers and HiLuxes.

    Late last year, Australian company ROEV announced details on its EV Fleet Program, which will allow customers to have their post-2016 Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger 4×2 and 4×4 workhorses converted to pure electric.

    There are two proposed configurations: a 64kWh Standard Pack offering up to 240km of range, and a 96kWh Extended Pack offering up to 360km.

    These conversions will have vehicle-to-load (V2L) with 240V powerpoints for powering equipment, an 11kW onboard AC charger, and maximum CCS DC charging speeds of 80kW.

    On an unrelated note, Toyota and mining giant BHP teamed up to put an all-electric 70 Series LandCruiser through its paces.

    The electric single-cab LandCruiser ute, dubbed the Workhorse EV, was converted from turbo-diesel to pure-electric power by Toyota itself in Port Melbourne. It has been used underground at a BHP nickel mine in Western Australia.

    Toyota HiLux EV tech specs

    • Battery options: 60kWh NMC or 88kWh NMC
    • Driving range: 260km unladen (60kWh) to 380km (88kWh)
    • GVM: 4.5 tonnes
    • Max power and torque: 134kW and 700Nm for both
    • V2G capability: Yes to both
    • Onboard charger: Three-Phase AC 22 kW
    • DC charging capability: Optional, 80% charge in 60 min
    • Operating temperature range: -20 °C to 50 °C

    MORE: Roev’s electric HiLux and Ranger conversions priced and detailed
    MORE: Australian EV truck manufacturer to double production capacity
    MORE: Toyota LandCruiser 70 electric ute starts testing

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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