SEA Electric to drive advances in the US

Australian electric commercial vehicle builder to test international interest

SEA Electric to drive advances in the US
The Ford F-59 Stripped Chassis


In a move that adds an Australian flavour to the term ‘carrying coals to Newcastle’, Australian electric-vehicle (EV) firm SEA Electric has detailed plans to showcase its vehicles in the US market.

SEA has set its sights on two commercial vehicle events in the coming months – the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis during March, while also attending California’s Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in April.

In the land of Tesla, Nikola and a range of smaller EV firms jockeying for position, SEA says it has a growing footprint there already.

The display vehicles are based on Ford and Isuzu platforms and are at an advanced build stage, with assembly of the Ford F-59 Stripped Chassis, taking place at Ford’s DCP assembly facility in Detroit and the Isuzu NRR being assembled nearby at an unnamed third-party plant.

Read about the local SEA-Isuzu collaboration, here

SEA Electric has also recently established its own site in Los Angeles, and appointed its first US-based employees to guide these new products and future projects through US certification and distribution.

SEA Electric group managing director Tony Fairweather says that, given the size of the market and its demand for EV, establishing a presence in the United States was a logical step forward for the company.

"We see a lot of opportunities in the States, it’s an extremely large commercial vehicle market with a strong interest in sustainability – the US is an important part of our growth plans," Fairweather explains.

"The country’s high urbanisation and sprawling cities also provide conditions where EV can deliver operators a lot of efficiency gains, not to mention the obvious environmental benefits."

The Ford F-59 Stripped Chassis is powered by the SEA-Drive 120b power-system which produces 150kW of continuous power and 250kW of maximum power.

SEA emphasises its continuous torque of 1,230Nm and maximum torque of 2,500Nm.

The second of the display trucks is a pantech-bodied Isuzu NRR and also features the SEA-Drive 120b power-system.

Both vehicles have operating ranges of up to 350km (220 miles), which SEA expects to remove ‘range angst’ for operators.

Shortly following the Work Truck Show, both vehicles will enter in-service trials with major US fleets.

SEA Electric also has a Ford Transit van program underway which will enter a trial stage in April.

This van features the SEA Drive 70 power-system which provides continuous power of 75kW, maximum power of 134kW and 700Nm of maximum torque for an operating range of up to 350km also (220 miles).

Batteries for all three vehicles can be fully charged overnight in 4-6 hours using a 20kW on-board charger, which allows them to be plugged-in and charged from any three-phase power source.

The SEA-Drive powered vehicles are pitched as being ideal for urban and metropolitan back-to-base distribution applications.

"For back-to-base operations, EV technology is extremely attractive because at the end of the working day, these vehicles are conveniently charged overnight and ready to go again the next morning," Fairweather says.

"Operators can expect a payback period of less than four years on their SEA-Drive powered truck or van, so with a battery lifecycle of approximately 10 years, there are great efficiencies to be gained over the whole life of the vehicle."

The company says its US venture builds on the company’s Australian operations and that it is also "well advanced" in expanding its local assembly presence in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, "providing capacity to produce up to 2,400 CBU (completely built up) van, light commuter bus and truck units per annum".



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