There’s a new name in Australia’s growing electric commercial vehicle market, with a familiar name behind it.

    Chinese brand Asiastar is entering the local market, distributed by Foton Mobility which already distributes electric buses and trucks in Australia.

    The first Asiastar electric commercial vehicles have arrived in Australia and will be in dealerships nationwide by the end of the first quarter of 2024.

    The range comprises D11 van and C11 cab-chassis models with a choice of 70kWh and 105.6kWh batteries, plus a B12 bus offered exclusively with the larger of the two batteries.

    The bus will be available with either 12 seats or none, the latter for buyers intending on doing a custom fit-out.

    Pricing starts at $98,916 before on-road costs for the C11 cab-chassis, topping out at $139,637 before on-roads for the B12 bus.

    For reference, the LDV eDeliver 9 range opens at $99,990 before on-road costs for the cab-chassis.

    The Asiastar vehicles are being targeted at last-mile delivery, trade and construction companies, local government, and aged care fleets, as well as for providers of patient and community transport.

    “Asiastar is making big inroads in their various markets around the world, and we are working closely with the factory and our local upfitters to be able to provide off-the-shelf and tailored solutions that will cater to any application,” said Bill Gillespie, Foton Mobility Distribution’s general manager of light-duty vehicles.

    “The electric van segment is truly underserviced locally, and with the innovations we are bringing to the market with our leading battery size, range, and eAxle configuration, we know that this will be a hit.”

    “The reason we are bringing Asiastar in is the product is very unique, because they are the only van that is e-axle,” said Foton Mobility Distribution CEO Neil Wang, noting the company had looked at electric vans from other Chinese manufacturers before landing on the Asiastar range.

    In addition to importing Asiastar vehicles, Foton Mobility also plans to additionally bring to Australia vans developed by Foton.

    Foton Mobility is Australian-owned and isn’t part of the Foton Group, though it distributes Foton vehicles.

    The company was formed through a strategic partnership between Foton Bus Australia and The TrueGreen Mobility Group.

    Asiastar, founded in 1949 and best known for its buses, is part of the Weichai Group. This state-owned firm is ranked 18th among China’s top 100 multinational companies.

    Pricing

    • 2024 Asiastar C11 cab-chassis (70kWh battery): $98,916
    • 2024 Asiastar D11 van (70kWh): $105,064
    • 2024 Asiastar C11 cab-chassis (105.7kWh): $109,990
    • 2024 Asiastar D11 van (105.7kWh): $114,474
    • 2024 Asiastar B12 bus (105.7kWh): $139,637

    All prices exclude on-road costs.

    Drivetrains

    All models feature Asiastar’s eAxle, with the drive motor mounted on the rear axle. The company says this packaging results in a weight saving of around 10 per cent and a simplification of componentry, with no propeller shaft required.

    The motor produces 120kW of power and 410Nm of torque. Top speed is limited to 100km/h.

    All Asiastar models feature MacPherson strut front and leaf-spring rear suspension.

    Efficiency

    Claimed range is 180km on an unspecified test cycle on all models with the 70kWh battery and 300km on those with the 105.6kWh battery.

    The 105.6kWh battery is supplied by CATL, known for supplying batteries to manufacturers such as Tesla, BMW and Volkswagen, and is the largest battery available in the electric van market in Australia.

    There’s a 500-volt system, while under the bonnet sits a motor control unit, power control unit, and DC-DC converter.

    Dimensions

    All models have a 4500kg gross vehicle mass and can be driven on a regular licence.

    Kerb weight is between 2630kg and 2850kg on cab-chassis models, depending on the battery, while the van weighs between 2800kg and 3020kg and the bus weighs 3250kg.

    The van and bus measure 5915mm long, 2040mm wide and 2632mm tall on a 3665mm wheelbase, or 25mm longer, 22mm narrower and 87mm taller than an LDV eDeliver 9.

    The cab-chassis model is 5880mm long, 2040mm wide and 2632mm tall on an identical 3665mm wheelbase.

    In the vans, payload is 1700kg with the smaller battery and 1480kg with the larger battery, with 10.5 cubic metres of cargo space. The load bay measures 3080mm long, 1780mm wide and 1915mm tall.

    The cab-chassis model, which can be fitted with a Pantech body or tray, offers payload figures of 1870kg and 1650kg respectively.

    The 12-seat bus, which can be specified with cloth or vinyl seats and comes with a manual folding step and fixed handrail, has a payload of 1250kg.

    Servicing and Warranty

    Asiastar models are backed by a five-year, 200,000km warranty, with the battery backed by an eight-year, 300,000km warranty.

    Servicing is required every 30,000km.

    Safety

    Asiastar models come standard with:

    • Autonomous emergency braking
    • Lane-departure warning
    • Dual front airbags
    • Rear parking sensors
    • Reversing camera (van and bus models)

    Standard Equipment

    Standard equipment on all models includes:

    • Power windows
    • Central locking
    • Six-way adjustable driver’s seat
    • Automatic halogen headlights
    • LED daytime running lights
    • Alloy wheels
    • Tyre pressure monitoring
    • Electric park brake
    • Bulkhead with fixed window (van)
    • Rear barn doors (bus and van)
    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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