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