Blade on the cutting edge
A private company converting cars to current power is undercutting the big corporations
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