Victoria-based SEA Electric has partnered with Mining Electric Vehicle Company (MEVCO) to deliver 8,500 electric Toyota Hilux and Land Cruiser conversions for mining companies in five years. So far, this is the biggest deal of its kind in Australia.
The conversion of the vehicles will take place at the SEA Dandenong facility, but the company will also expand to be able to convert 4,000 vehicles per year.
Currently, the demo models of the vehicles are available in Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth, whilst over half of the 2023 allocation has already been sold.
The vehicles will be available in 4×4 and 4×2 configurations with either an 88kWh battery or a 60kWh battery.
The Hilux will have a 700 Nm maximum torque and a GVM of up to 4.5 tonnes. Both vehicle models will feature SEA Electric’s SEA-Drive power system and can be charged 80 percent with fast DC charging. On that note, the battery will have a five-year factory warranty.
SEA Electric Founder & CEO Tony Fairweather said, “With the SEA-Drive power-system, we have developed technology that is perfectly adaptable to a wide range of commercial vehicle tasks that have typically been the domain of diesel-powered engines.”
He continued, “Through Mevco, the mining industry will now be able to access cutting-edge technology, which developers top performance and total cost of ownership prospects, all with sustainability at the forefront.”
The growing electric conversion market in Australia
There is a high demand for electric people in the nation, and the partnership between SEA Electric and MEVCO isn’t the first.
Earlier this year, Roev, a company based in Brisbane, is also converting ute models, and they announced that they would be focusing on the completion of the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger.
Roev is converting all body types for model years between 2016 and 2022 for both brands. Also, they opened their first round of reservations for their EV Fleet Program, which will allow local fleet customers to reserve their share of the conversions ahead.
In fact, they have already gotten reservations enough for this year. CEO Noah Wasmer said, “It’s fantastic to see all of the interest is now turning into reservation requests. Confirming the strong demand allows us to plan and scale with more confidence,” he said.
How the mining industry will benefit
Electric vehicles and utes will benefit the mining industry significantly as they can ensure miners are less exposed to toxic fumes, noise, and heat, which could all bring a host of diseases and injuries.
The deadly fumes from conventional vehicles can turn deadly, especially in confined spaces. Thus, the need for an alternative.
Electric utes designed to withstand humid, hot, and salty environments are an excellent solution.
In addition, the arrival of electric utes for the mining industry comes at the right time to cater to the bespoke needs of the sector.
There is already existing technology for mining companies, but it is still in the process to become powerful enough to meet the demands of this particular heavy industry sector.
Several mining companies have also provided government funding over the years, priming the country for innovation. It is estimated that between 2030 and 2040, there will be more viable options to eliminate diesel engines and cooling systems from heavy mine vehicles and replace them with batteries.
Other solutions being explored for the mining industry are using hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, wireless charging options, and electrically-powered trolley assist systems.
Electrifying utility vehicles
Many manufacturers are also working on electric utes, which will further help Australia’s mining sector. In late 2022, LDV, a China-based manufacturer, delivered their eT60, an all-electric version of their T60.
Meanwhile, it can be recalled that the LandCruiser 70-Series is under a development program that will produce EV versions by 2025.
There is also H2X with plans to convert Ford Rangers into a hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrain. And finally, the Tesla Cybertruck, which is currently running late, has already taken a million deposits.
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