Blade on the cut­ting edge

A pri­vate com­pany con­vert­ing cars to cur­rent power is un­der­cut­ting the big cor­po­ra­tions

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - MARK HINCHLIFFE mark.hinchliffe@cars­ Visit

THE in­va­sion of masspro­duced elec­tric ve­hi­cles next year doesn’t faze Aus­tralia’s first man­u­fac­turer of EVs.

Ross Blade of Blade Elec­tric Ve­hi­cles in Vic­to­ria says it will take on the big com­pa­nies with a cheaper and faster-charg­ing home-made prod­uct.

The Elec­tron Mark V, which is based on a Hyundai Getz, costs about $48,000 de­spite the petrol-pow­ered equiv­a­lent Getz sell­ing for $13,990$16,340.

But Blade says it will be cheaper than EVs such as the Mit­subishi i-MiEV, Chevro­let Volt and Nis­san Leaf.

We also have fea­tures in our prod­uct which are su­pe­rior,’’ he says.

The av­er­age charge time from stan­dard mains power is about eight hours for most mass-pro­duced EVs.

Blade says his ve­hi­cles recharge in two to four hours as

they are de­signed for 15 amps tops and we are de­signed to take the full 30 amps’’.

Our ve­hi­cle is de­signed to op­ti­mise the stan­dard charg­ing point in­fra­struc­ture now be­ing rolled out in Mel­bourne,’’ he says.

We’ve been in the busi­ness four years and we know what tech­nolo­gies are com­ing and can make big changes quickly.

The ma­jor car com­pa­nies make their de­ci­sions sev­eral years in ad­vance and can’t make rapid change.’’

Blade is mov­ing from the Getz (Elec­tron Mark V) to the sta­ble­mate i20 this year (Elec­tron Gen II) and the Holden Cruze late next year.

Cruze will ul­ti­mately be our prime busi­ness as we want a lo­cally made chas­sis to match our lo­cally made com­po­nents. We’ll be tar­get­ing a min­i­mum four-star (ANCAP) rat­ing.’’

Since pro­duc­tion be­gan in Fe­bru­ary 2008, Blade has sold 40 Getz mod­els con­verted to elec­tric power. How­ever, he does not re­fer to his busi­ness as elec­tric con­ver­sion. We crash test our ve­hi­cles and are li­censed, so we’re a sec­ond­stage man­u­fac­turer,’’ he says.

Most cus­tomers are pri­vate but the com­pany re­cently broke into the fleet mar­ket.

Switched on: Ross Blade

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