SEA kicks off Kings electric vehicles delivery


Australian manufacturer has 10 units so far destined for local and NZ customers

SEA kicks off Kings electric vehicles delivery
Kings chairman George Savvides, SEA executive chairman Tony Fairweather, state environment and energy minister Lily D'Ambrosio, state Member for Dandenong Gabrielle Williams, SEA MD Glenn Baird and Kings CEO Tony Mellick in front of an EV10 displaying Kings’ new livery

 

Kings Transport and Logistics has officially received its first fully electric Australian-made commercial vehicles from manufacturer and conversion specialist SEA Electric.

In line with its environmental and social policies and with a view to operational gains, Kings aims to progressively replace engine-driven vehicles where electric propulsion suits particular routes, Kings Group CEO Tony Mellick told an audience of industry and political identities.

"This is an exciting day for Kings Transport," Mellick says, standing before a unit sporting the company’s new livery.

"These new SEA Electric trucks will contribute to the competitiveness of our transport fleets and the sustainability of our business operations.

"We are committed to our carbon-neutral company fleet policy and we look forward to offering sustainable transport solutions to our customers."

In a flexible agreement, Kings has agreed to take three each of SEA’s 8-11 tonne gross vehicle mass (GVM) light rigid EV10, 12-15 tonne medium-rigid  EV14 and the E4V electric light van.

That division of vehicles may change but the transport and logistics firm is expected to receive vans in September.

No decision on the 17-tonne GHEV, based on a Hino chassis, has been made, though one for waste transport has been ordered by a New Zealand company.

Mellick tells ATN the nine will be based in Melbourne, where the range of close to 200km "hits the sweet spot for us here".

That said, he reveals that the company is mulling a Bluescope Steel request for several units for Perth operations where noise has become an issue.

SEA’s vehicles are being made in Melbourne, with assembly technicians and engineers installing proprietary SEA-Drive technologies for state, national and regional markets and capable, the company says, of recharge in up to six hours.

Kings says it linked with SEA last year, "providing advice and assistance to optimise local content, vehicle specifications and cab configurations to deliver the most suitable product to their clients and the broader Australian and New Zealand market".

SEA executive chairman Tony Fairweather paid tribute to its T&L partner in expressing his delight at reaching the milestone.

"It is even more pleasing that we share this day with Kings Transport and Logistics, who understand the strategic and commercial competitive advantage that electric vehicles bring to transport fleets," Fairweather says.

He thanked state energy and environment minister Lily D’Ambrosio for the government’s support through its New Energy Jobs Fund, saying the firm is "appreciative of the vision that has led to support for new energy and technology businesses such as ours".  

At the same time, he laments the general Australia transport industry’s reticence in taking advantage of advances in electric propulsion and the lack of public policy prescriptions that would help make such a take-up attractive to potential buyers – particularly as they are prevalent in other advanced countries, not least as anti-pollution measures.

Fairweather reveals that SEA’s target was the "small to medium-sized commercial vehicle segment, where transport services businesses operation relatively fixed route applications with overnight layover, which is the perfect application for EVs.

"Battery and component cost reductions are now enabling EVs to be procured on an economic return basis with environmental benefits a substantial additional benefit."

In MD Glenn Baird and Tony Fairweather, Australian-owned and operated SEA has personnel roots with the Avia tilt at the Australian market that featured in the 2013 Brisbane Truck Show, along with the Avia-platform Smith Newton all-electric truck, a unit of which saw more than two years of service with Toll.

SEA has used the Toll test vehicle as a base unit to identify improvements needed in conjunction with Deakin University.

Read the full report in te August edition of ATN. Subscribe here. 

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