First Ace electric vans assembled in Adelaide

By: Peter Roberts

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  • Plant & Equipment

Former Mitsubishi plant rises phoenix-like back to manufacturing vehicles


Silently, with only a warning beep-beep, the first ACE-EV electric cargo van to be assembled in Adelaide rolls out for its media debut early this morning.

The venue – the Tonsley innovation centre housed in the former Miitsubishi Motors main assembly building – is ripe with irony, a massive industrial structure now re-purposed to house R&D facilities and start-up businesses.

ACE-EV MD Greg McGarvie is beaming as the carbon fibre composite van impressed with not only its silence, but its solidity, its quality and its promise for the future.

 "It has taken us a million dollars to get where we are today," McGarvie says.

"My ambition is to work at it until at least 50 per cent of the car comes from South Australia.

"That will be a higher local content than Holden ever had." 

For the moment the solid carbon fibre composite chassis is brought in from China in flat packs, and assembled by Aldom Body Builders at their facility in Wingfield north of Adelaide.

Interiors, electric drive train and a variety of bodies are then added, with local content for the first vehicles limited to labour and road wheels.

The ACE-EV cargo bay has a capacity of 500kg, giving the vehicle a range of 200km.

The drivers cab is surprisingly well finished, as is the entire vehicle.

Body builder Mark Aldom says the chassis came in 17 parts and the bodywork a further 78.

"You and I could put it together in about 18 hours," Aldom says.

"The design is very clever."

One hundred vehicles are available initially, with local government representatives at the launch expressing keen interest in the Adelaide product.

McGarvie is now in discussions with investors to raise $5 million, a first tranche of capital needed to take production to a planned 15,000 a year by 2025.

Republished with permission of @AuManfacturing.


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