Australia gets its first EV production WITHOUT government support

Queensland startup ACE EV is set to sign an agreement to build electric vehicles in Adelaide from next year. The deal marks Australia’s first domestic manufacturing for EVs and comes in the absence of any state support. Is this the beginning of a new era for Aussie industry?

It was only one month ago that ACE EV revealed their first model, the Cargo, at the Sydney Smart Energy Expo. Today they’ve announced plans to begin manufacture in Adelaide through a partnership with Aldom Motor Body Builders.

Managing director Greg McGarvie spoke to the ABC, “We're taking orders now, there's only 100 vehicles available for 2019 and Aldom will be manufacturing the first quarter 2020.”

Work will begin at Aldom’s factory in Wingfield, with plans to expand production to a new facility in the next few years. Aldom CEO Mark Haig told The Driven, “Once we get to 10 cars a week we’re then looking at getting into a purpose built premise or adapting an existing one.”

With plans to reach 15,000 units per year by 2025, the deal marks the first good news for Australian motor manufacturing since the last Holden factories closed in 2017. Orders are already being received to reserve the first models off the line.

ACE are also planning to build up to 50% of the parts in South Australia. The rest will be imported.

Things to come

Crucially, the deal comes without any state or federal government incentives. Last week Labor pledged funding for domestic EV manufacture, but support from either party will most likely take years to manifest.

The Coalition have stated their intention to develop EV policy in 2020, and Labor’s plan has made it clear that domestic production is a priority. So will we be seeing more from ACE and other manufacturers?

ACE EV’s success would be a milestone for the Australian vehicle industry. Domestic EV manufacturing would be a major coup if it develops in earnest, but we just don’t know enough to confirm whether that’s possible right now. International markets, growing technology, and public support will be crucial factors going forward.

Do you think this is the start of something big? Let us know and stay tuned to the JET Charge blog for more EV news and industry updates.