Australian electric truck-maker SEA Electric is doubling down on its commitment to local production.
The company said this week it would double the capacity of its production facility in Dandenong, Victoria – now projected to produce up to eight trucks per day, or 2080 annually.
In order to make space for this extra production, the SEA Electric manufacturing plant will expand to cover 8000m2 of its 15,000m2 total site area.
SEA Electric was founded in 2012 and has been conducting EV driveline swaps on diesel trucks since 2017 using its patented SEA-Drive Power System.
Last year it launched its local range of SEA Electric-badged trucks, the SEA 300 EV and the SEA 500 EV, which offer options ranging between a 4.5-tonne truck that’s drive-able on a car licence, through to 22.5-tonne three-axle rigids.
This expanded SEA Electric production facility will be powered by renewable energy as a 100kW rooftop solar array was installed last year, which the company says has produced 129MWh of energy to date.
SEA Electric says this solar array system has ensured the manufacturing plant is approximately 60 per cent carbon positive, which means it produces 60 per cent more energy than it consumes.
In the future, SEA Electric plans on using the batteries in vehicle-to-grid-capable trucks on-site, where the trucks can provide power during peak demand or grid disruption.
The electric trucks that SEA Electric produces locally are based on diesel Hinos, constructed from a Semi Knocked Down (SKD) kit sent over, and finished with new badging and branding, complete with its own compliance plate and factory warranty.
Final applications for these SEA electric trucks include dry and refrigerated freight, side, front and rear refuse trucks, tilt trays, work trucks and elevated work platforms, among others. It also recently launched Australia’s first airport refuelling EV truck.
“Australia doesn’t need to search the world to attract EV manufacturers – SEA Electric is proud to be a global leader in commercial eMobility technology, homegrown here in Victoria,” said SEA Electric founder and CEO Tony Fairweather.
“Since launching our new range last year, we have attracted incredible interest from a wide cross-section of leading companies and government bodies, who seek to improve their environmental sustainability, despite a lack of policy and incentives to fuel growth in the sector on these shores.
“The recent change of Federal Government and the subsequent increase in EV activity, has provided SEA Electric with renewed confidence that appropriate policy and incentives maybe close. There are many examples of successful policy in EV progressive countries such as the US that we should simply emulate.
“Despite Australian passenger car production wrapping up in 2017, we still have vibrant engineering, development, and manufacturing capabilities, of which we should be proud.”
SEA Electric is one example of an Australian company re-engineering vehicles or making core components in Australia.
Others include DC charge point leader Tritium; lightweight wheel-maker Carbon Revolution; off-road accessory giant ARB; Walkinshaw the right-hand drive converter for GMSV and Ram Trucks Australia; and Nissan Australia which makes Leaf EV parts in Dandenong.
SEA has a global presence, with product in seven countries including the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Indonesia, and South Africa.
North America has its largest “upfitting capacity” at more than 30,000 units per annum. But Australia’s factory facility for volume commercial production of electric trucks is the model to be used moving forward.