Melbourne-based company SEA Electric has commenced volume commercial production of electric trucks it says will cost under $14 per day to charge from the grid, and even less if depot solar is used.
Two SEA Electric-badged vehicles, the SEA 300 and SEA 500, based on the Hino 500 Series and Hino 300 Series models, are now available for purchase, with the first of the vehicles currently on the production line in Melbourne.
“SEA Electric is privileged to be able to bring this Australian first to the marketplace,” said Glen Walker, SEA Electric Regional Director for Oceania.
“These trucks truly meet a need in the marketplace, and prior to this launch, we have received pre-orders for 46 vehicles from some of Australia’s biggest companies and councils.
“It represents an exciting phase in global EV development, and this places SEA Electric at the forefront.
The trucks are propelled by SEA Electric’s SEA-Drive Power-System, which is available in various performance and range packages to suit applications from 4.5 tonne car licence vehicles through to 22.5 tonne 3 axle trucks.
Previously only available as a retrofit option for existing diesel vehicles, the trucks are assembled from Semi Knocked Down (SKD) kits, complete with a fully integrated SEA-Drive Power-System from new.
Real world testing of in-service vehicles that travel up to 1000 kilometres per week has revealed daily recharging costs of less than $14 per day using standard off-peak electricity prices of 15c per kWh.
Future-proofed with an upgradable plug and play architecture, the SEA-Drive Power-System can be charged using the world’s biggest charging network, which is 415V 3-phase power via the truck’s standard on-board charging equipment, with optional DC fast charging also available.
The fast charging option enables a charging rate four times faster than standard, and offers range extending top-ups during lunch hour or vehicle loading.
From an operational perspective, lower maintenance and running costs are possible, with diesel consumption eliminated and fewer moving parts minimising service costs.
“Our electric Power System features a host of key features, including smooth application of torque, industry-leading range, whisper quiet operation, and importantly, a reduction in the truck’s carbon footprint, with zero emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane,” said Walker.
The medium-duty SEA 500 is available in a pair of 4×2 configurations with a maximum body length of 8,930m and a GVM range between 14 to 17 tonnes.
Drivetrain options include the SEA-Drive 120-35 and 180-35, which are both powered by an electric motor producing maximum torque output of 3,500Nm and maximum power value of 350kW.
The 120-35 has a battery capacity of 138kWh and an unladen range of 175km, while the 180-35 features a battery capacity of 220kWh, and an unladen range of 200km.
Meanwhile, the light-duty SEA 300 range is available in a variety of wheelbase, payload and body length configurations, all with a 4×2 axle format, and GVMs ranging from 4.5 to 8.5 tonnes.
“The SEA 300 range can be ‘specced’ up with one of three motors,” said Walker.
“The 700Nm torque and 127kW variant powers the SEA-Drive 70-7, combined with its 88kWh battery it is perfect for the car licence 4.5tonne GVM truck.
“Ideal motors for up to 8500kg GCM are the midrange 1000Nm of torque and 108kW of power for the SEA-Drive 100-10.
“In addition to two motors, the SEA 300-85 is available with two different batteries, providing capacities of 103kWh through to 138kWh, which provide for unladen ranges from 210 to 300km.”
All SEA-Drive power systems have an operating temperature range of -20°C to 50°C, with empty to full charging times ranging from approximately five hours for the SEA-Drive 70, through to 12 hours for the SEA-Drive 180 iterations.
The SEA-Drive chassis layout features unique in-chassis mounted batteries, which improve battery protection and driving dynamics by centralising weight, while maintaining front to rear weight distribution for optimal foundation braking performance.
When combined with the patented SEA-Drive technology, these batteries produce class-leading ranges of up to 300km in some applications.
The manufacturer says another highlight of the trucks are the improved workplace health and safety conditions for operators, with the powertrain producing no noise or fumes while reducing vibrations, which combine to limit driver fatigue.
“SEA-Drive technology performs exceptionally well in congested urban environments, where pollution reduction is needed most, and as demonstrated by real world experience from our global vehicle deployments it provides competitive whole of life operating costs when compared to traditional diesel vehicles,” said Walker.
“As demonstrated with vehicles already fitted with SEA-Drive Power-Systems, the trucks are extremely quiet, perform well, while also providing a powerful yet smooth ride.
“They also have a flexible architecture which will future-proof their ownership.
The trucks are currently on sale from 15 fully accredited SEA Electric dealers nationwide that can also provide service and parts support, including any work carried out under the standard three-year warranty.
“Having a strong dealer network and nationwide support structure in place, we are excited for the range to hit Australia’s roads,” concluded Walker.
Roadside Assistance will be available via industry leading provider NTI for the life of the warranty period.