SAE-Australasia Pushes for Specialist EV Manufacturing in the Country


Jul 28th, 2020

SAE-Australasia Pushes for Specialist EV Manufacturing in the Country

Here's some exciting news for the Aussie auto industry!

The Society of Automotive Engineers (Australasia), or SAE-A, is pushing for the country to produce cutting-edge shuin the next ten years!

According to the SAE-A, this idea is along the lines of 1998 and 2000 aXcess concept cars. Back then, talented Aussie engineers, designers, and component manufacturers built aXcess cars to demonstrate homegrown talent to global car companies. The initial models, a four-door powered by an Orbital two-stroke engine and an onboard generator-powered low-emission hybrid, piqued the interest of many. They even generated roughly $1.25 billion in export sales for Australian manufacturers!

According to some sources, at least half of the manufacturers involved with the aXcess concept cars are still in business. It seems that the SAE-A intends on recruiting them as members to participate in this project.

What’s the plan? 

Part of the plan involves forming partnerships between hi-tech Australian component manufacturers and skilled local engineers. Ever since Toyota, Holden, and Ford exited the Aussie market, the Australian pool of automotive talent and resources have undoubtedly gone underutilised.

The SAE-A won't be building the cars themselves. Instead, they're recruiting members and fostering the project. In doing so, they're looking out for the best interests of their members, which is their primary objective. 

According to the leadership of the SAE-A, they believe that right now is the perfect time for a project like this to push Australian engineers and manufacturers towards reinvigorating the country's specialist car industry.

What kind of vehicles will they be producing?

A vital element of this project is that it's very focused on a specific niche. Instead of competing with larger manufacturers, the emphasis of this idea will be on producing specialist vehicles using new techniques and in low volumes.

That approach will leverage Australia's experience in producing composite vehicle manufacturing in low volumes, as it has done many times before. 

But what is a specialist vehicle? In this context, the idea is to build vehicles like police cars and ambulances. Rather than taking standard cars and modifying it for police or medical use, these cars would be purpose-built from scratch, both for local and export markets.

These vehicles would include the latest technologies. They'll be electric, autonomous to some degree, built of advanced materials, and manufactured in numbers of roughly 50,000-100,000.

Additionally, these vehicles will be somewhat modular. That means that they could potentially share the same platform, even though some will roll out of the factory as police cars, ambulances, or even military vehicles.

My Two Cents

I think this is a great idea. When it comes to the automotive industry, Australia undoubtedly has loads of engineering talent. More than that, Australia also has resilient homegrown component manufacturers. Despite the global pandemic and the challenges faced by the entire automotive industry worldwide, Australian businesses have been evolving and surviving. Some have even been thriving despite it all!

With the collective abilities of local designers, engineers and parts manufacturers, and the help of an influential organisation like the SAE-A, there's no doubt that this project will succeed. Endeavors such as this would make Australia an excellent role model from which the global auto industry can gain inspiration.

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By Ray Hasbollah