Carsales – Australian-made electric van revealed


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ACE EV Group’s X1 Transformer modular platform to underpin seven different commercial EVs

Australian electric light commercial vehicle start-up ACE EV Group has revealed the first of seven battery-powered models it plans to build in Adelaide from next year. No name or pricing has yet been announced for the long-wheelbase high-roof delivery van, which is based on ACE’s modular EV platform called X1 Transformer.

However, full specifications were announced at today’s online launch of the electric van, hosted by the Society of Automotive Engineers – Australasia (SAE-A).

Powered by a 90kW/255Nm electric motor fed by a 52.5kWh battery that takes eight hours to charge via a household AC outlet (45 minutes from 5 to 80% via a DC fast-charger), the e-van has a combined WLTP range of 215-258km.

Urban WLTP range is listed at 303-354km and energy consumption at 23-27.6kWh/100km, and the van wil come with two six-metre charging cables – EVSE three-pin 10A and Type 2 Model 3 32A.

Top speed is listed at 90km/h, kerb weight at 1425kg and GVM at 2535kg, leaving 1110kg of payload including the rear cargo box, with which the vehicle measures 5156mm long, 1810mm wide and 2370mm high.

Safety features are not listed but standard creature comforts will include a 7.0-inch touch-screen infotainment system with MP5, DAB+, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay capability.

Also standard is air-conditioning, heated seats, cruise control, remote central locking, a height-adjustable leather-clad steering wheel, four-way driver’s seat adjustment, automatic headlights and power windows/mirrors.

The wheelbase is 3285mm, suspension is via MacPherson front struts and rear leaf springs, and the wheels are 15-inch steel (alloys are optional) with 185/65 R15C tyres.

This hardware will be common to all ACE commercial vehicles, including a short-wheelbase van also with high or low roof options, and a tray-back electric ute previously referred to at the ACE Yewt. The company says cargo modules can be changes as little as 15 minutes.

ACE EV managing director and co-founder Greg McGarvie said the X1 Transformer range of e-LCVs will be aimed at major fleets around the world as an integrated energy, transport and communications system.

“We are a focused energy and software company with a Mobile Energy Management System (MEMS) that delivers new ways for energy and transport to work together,” he said.

“For busy freight companies with their major distribution centres, the X1 enables them to fit a pre-packed module straight onto its electric platform and be on its way in 15 minutes.

“One platform can carry whatever cargo module is required – van or ute, high or low roof – so it is constantly earning its keep, whatever each individual freight mission may be.”

A key feature of the X1 Transformer platform is advanced V2G (vehicle-to-grid) technology that connects the vehicle to telematics, software updates, emergency power and ACE’s pioneering Smart Energy Wallet.

“Our Advanced Australian Vehicle To Grid (AAV2G) project will deliver bi-directional transfer between vehicle, building and grid with integrated on-board energy metering,” said McGarvie .

“The system will enable the X1 Transformer to power an entire home or business, with the vehicle battery storing energy from rooftop solar cells or from the grid.

“It can charge when the sun shines, provide night-time energy needs, supply emergency power when needed, feed back into the grid – and, of course, run the vehicle itself.”

As we’ve reported, ACE EV won $5 million in federal government funding for an energy management trial to start early next year using the X1 Transformer as its test platform.

Today, McGarvie said ACE intends to put X1 Transformer trial vehicles on the road in November, “with a view to beginning full-scale systems testing in April next year”.

Previously, ACE said it would launch two models in October 2021 – the Cargo light commercial and the Yewt ute – followed by the Urban passenger car in 2022, with prices starting from under $40,000.

Established in Queensland in 2016 but now based in Adelaide, ACE EV (which stands for Australian Clean Energy Electric Vehicle) commissioned companies in Germany and Taiwan to design its vehicles.

Based around a modular carbon-fibre chassis that’s claimed to take only 18 hours to assemble, they will be built in Adelaide by a contractor, Aldom Electric Vehicle Manufacturing.

ACE EV previously told carsales it hoped to eventually build up to 20,000 vehicles annually and export a significant number to right-hand drive markets like Japan and the UK.