Elec­tric SHOCK

A con­sor­tium has plans for a plug-in Com­modore, Paul Gover re­ports

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

It’s an ex­cit­ing idea and it’s good for us to be able to sup­port it. But it’s not a ve­hi­cle we’ll be putting into pro­duc­tion.

ABAT­TERY-pow­ered Com­modore is set to join the world’s elec­tric car fleet. The zero-emis­sion, plug-in car will be de­vel­oped in Mel­bourne by a new con­sor­tium called EV En­gi­neer­ing Lim­ited and is partly funded by a $3.5 mil­lion grant from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Green Car In­no­va­tion Fund.

The con­sor­tium in­tends to build a con­cept pro­to­type and then con­struct seven fully elec­tric Com­modores to prove the car has a vi­able pro­duc­tion fu­ture.

The pro­ject does not di­rectly in­volve GMHolden, though it is pro­vid­ing en­gi­neer­ing back-up and ac­cess to its Lang Lang prov­ing ground.

The EV En­gi­neer­ing con­sor­tium com­bines many of Aus­tralia’s lead­ing au­to­mo­tive sup­pli­ers, in­clud­ing Air In­ter­na­tional, Bosch, Con­ti­nen­tal and Fu­turis. It is headed by Rob McEniry, for­mer CEO of Mit­subishi Mo­tors Aus­tralia.

‘‘This col­lab­o­ra­tion is ev­i­dence that the lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing and au­to­mo­tive in­dus­tries have recog­nised the im­por­tant role these ve­hi­cles will play in their fu­ture,’’ McEniry says.

‘‘This ini­tia­tive will strengthen the lo­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties and give Aus­tralia the op­por­tu­nity to lead the world in the de­vel­op­ment of large, pow­er­ful, zero-emis­sions ve­hi­cles, and en­sure we re­main glob­ally com­pet­i­tive in this sus­tain­able, high-growth mar­ket.’’

EV En­gi­neer­ing has set a 15-month sched­ule for the pro­ject and also in­tends that the bat­ter­ies in the elec­tric Com­modore will only be charged with re­new­able en­ergy us­ing stan­dard elec­tric ve­hi­cle plug-in and bat­tery switch­ing in­fra­struc­ture.

Holden has no plans for a bat­tery-pow­ered Com­modore, though it built a hy­brid ECOm­modore in 2000 and in­tends to even­tu­ally have a hy­brid ver­sion of the car.

Its first hy­brid will be the range- ex­tended Volt, which re­cently went on sale in the US as a Chevro­let and will also be sold in the UK and Europe as the Am­pera.

‘‘We’re sup­port­ing it, but we’re not a mem­ber of the con­sor­tium. We’re giv­ing in-kind en­gi­neer­ing sup­port,’’ Holden spokes­woman Emily Perry says.

‘‘Broadly, it’s an ex­cit­ing idea and it’s good for us to be able to sup­port it. But it’s not a ve­hi­cle we’ll be putting into pro­duc­tion.

‘‘ Still, the find­ings will be in­ter­est­ing to us.’’

The pro­ject will be run from Fu­turis premises in Mel­bourne, close to Holden’s head­quar­ters at Fish­er­mans Bend.

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