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Electric vehicles to recharge Adelaide manufacturing

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An Australian company will today sign a deal to begin assembling electric vehicles in Adelaide.

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Australian Clean Energy Electric Vehicle Group (ACE-EV) will sign the deal this afternoon to begin assembling carbon fibre composite and plastic electric vans at the Aldom manufacturing plant in Wingfield, north of Adelaide’s CBD, this year.

ACE-EV managing director, Queensland former marine biologist Greg McGarvie, says he was determined to bring the electric vehicle industry to Australia for the sake of his grandchildren’s future.

McGarvie said the company had orders for 100 electric delivery vans to be assembled at the plant, and hoped to scale up to 15,000 electric vehicles by 2025.

He said ACE-EV would be using about 3000 square metres of the 12,000 sqm Wingfield site, and employing between 10 and 18 people in its first year.

“This state will be the first in Australia that will be manufacturing electric vehicles,” he said.

“We’ve been working on this for four years.

“It’s the right thing to be doing for my grandkids.”

McGarvie said the vehicles would mainly sell on the export market and aim to use local suppliers, but that it had partnerships with companies in Germany and Taiwan.

He told InDaily the South Australian Government had been the most “proactive” in seeking to attract his company to the state – but that politicians generally have been “gun-shy” to publicly support electric vehicles.

He said the Marshall Government had helped his company by setting up important business contacts, and was offering more “help” – but McGarvie declined to say what other assistance was on the table.

“It’s very encouraging what they’re offering to do to help,” he said.

He said he was not actively seeking investment from government, but rather, “electric-vehicle friendly” policy from lawmakers.

“We don’t need money, we just need policy support,” said McGarie.

“If the government is serious about reducing the carbon footprint it needs to encourage people to drive vehicles that have a low carbon footprint.

“Simple things can be done – you don’t have to be Einstein.”

He told InDaily electric vehicles could be fitted with green number plates and given priority road access – such as being able to use bus lanes, or exclusively electric vehicle lanes.

“It’s low-cost to government, but very beneficial to the environment.”

He said a Labor Party victory at this Saturday’s federal election would be “helpful” to his company, although he insisted he was not banking on it.

Labor Leader Bill Shorten has proposed a $57 million electric vehicle industry development fund, and a target for electric vehicles to make up 50 per cent of all new vehicle sales by 2030 in Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has argued that Labor wants to “end the weekend” by favouring electric vehicles over traditional cars and four wheel drives.

He told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning the cars can be charged overnight using a normal household power point and that they had been crash tested to European standards.

He said the vehicles had to still be approved in Australia but that a prototype had been tested here and he was “very confident” authorities would sign off on the vehicles.

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union SA assistant secretary Scott Bachelor said his union welcomed “any new entrant seeking to restart the car industry, create jobs and utilise the skills and experience of South Australian vehicle builders”.

“Electric vehicles are fast becoming the technology of the future and South Australian workers are ready for the challenge.”

He criticised former Prime Minster Tony Abbott for ending car industry subsidies, blaming the Coalition Government for killing the Australian car industry.

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