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BTS21 EV: EV Automotive reaches for the Skywell

Part 3 – commercial van option a point of difference


In this four part examination, ATN looks at the upstart electric vehicle (EV) challengers to the established commercial vehicle manufacturers, who exhibited at this year’s Brisbane Truck Show (BTS).

EV Automotive (EV-A)  continued the trend of intriguing electric offering, due, no doubt, to be the only exhibitor  offering battery-propelled vans, rather than trucks. But in a certain way, there is a trucking link.

For EV Automotive is the creation of the Epoca Group of Companies that has roots in Mt Isa going back more than 50 years.

That is the privately owned and operated civil, structural and mechanical engineering operation and property firm founded by Gilberto Maggiolo and Tony Bosso, who were one-time stakeholders in ill-fated heavy truck fleet-owner McAleese.

It was a trip to China in the mid-2010s in search of electrical machinery that led to a realisation of the potential of EV commercial vehicles, particularly vans.

The next challenge was to find a manufacturer happy to turn its had to right-hand drive, given the global demand is swamped with the alternative, and willing to go to Australian Design Rules (ADR) standards.

And Skywell Industries, predominantly an electric bus manufacturer that is branching out into large van production, was.

Such are global tensions and the attitudes they engender that what was barely worth a mention has morphed into a source of concern. But EV Automotive sees no gain in trying to hide the source of the vehicles – after all, in this connected age, it would be pointless.

Read about the other Chinese-built offering at the show, here

So, the Skywell E11 E-Cargo, its only vehicle that was also destined also for Thailand and Hong Kong, took its place this year on the main floor but not before EV-A brought in Tiger Spider to look after the homologation, certification, compliance and local testing.

With eight-year warranty, the batteries are 73.6kWh lithium ion units with CCS Type 2 charging and the vehicle claims a 70kW of power and 350Nm or torque off the mark building to 100kW and 750Nm.

Range is put at 200km-300km, based on load.

While the battery supplier has links with Tesla, EV-A is also taking a page out of that firm’s online sales model.

On the servicing side, EV-A MD David Potter said it was in the midst of exchanging contracts with a partner with 268 outlets nation-wide but he was unwilling to name it until ink hit paper.

Given the dearth of moving parts, he puts servicing cost at $180 a year, the first three and 12 months being on EV-A.

For cargo, there are 1,340mm between the wheel arches, internal height of 1,780mm, length of 3,370mm and with rear double-door width is of 1,555mm

It is not that EV-A has emerged entirely without trace.

It would have made its debut in 2019 had there been space.

This time the disruption came to its aid.

“We’ll try to keep it up as a biennial event. It’s not necessarily the ideal vehicle to showcase, because people are coming for the bigger trucks, but it’s logistics,” EV-A Oceania sales manager Peter Benardos says.

“And all of the logistics people that will be coming to the show to have a look at trailers and everything else ae going to stumble across us and go ‘we could use that!’.”


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