Editor: This article has been updated to reflect that AVASS will not be the first Australian company to manufacture locally made electric vehicles. Queensland company Bustech (part of Transit Australia Group) launched Australia’s first electric bus in 2015, which was designed, engineered and manufactured at its plant in Burleigh Heads.
A Melbourne-based electric vehicle maker has revealed plans to become one of Australia’s first manufacturers of 100 per cent locally made EVs, after securing a production facility in Avalon, Victoria.
The company, a privately-owned family business called AVASS, is being headed up by Allen Salyav – the former CEO of electric bus maker Brighsun – and will manufacture electric vehicles under the AVA brand including all-electric buses, cars, vans, motorcycles and trucks.
All of the vehicles made in the Avalon factory will use the company’s own self-charging battery technology, removing the need for charging infrastructure.
“With AVA we intend on manufacturing in Australia and globally in the respective regions,” Saylav said in a statement on Thursday. “We believe AVA will become a worldwide household name when it comes to electric vehicle manufacturing.”
Outside of Australia, the company has production facilities in Turkey, where Saylav says it is making vans already, and in China, where it is currently turning out buses. It also has distribution centres in Europe, South America and the Middle East, as well as a battery-making facility in China.
In an interview with RenewEconomy, Saylav said the company ultimately plans make its batteries in Australia, too, once the China plant has been successfully proven.
In Australia, where the Avalon factory has seven production lines, Saylav says the company is in the prototyping and design process, and expects to have products ready for demonstration by around July.
The focus, initially, will be on the production of the company’s generation 3 buses – the Matilda for City (a public transport solution) and the AVASS touring bus – both of which, as mentioned above, have built-in charging systems, so won’t have to use charging stations.
Saylav said that the company had already generated strong interest from the international market, as well as from within Australia, where it had secured government and private entity interest.
“We’ve got some vehicles we’re preparing for a government order now,” he said, specifying only that it was a government from one of Australia’s capital cities.
Saylav said that the technology used not only reduced the need for charging infrastructure, but made the vehicles “much safer” to operate.
In a bus, for example, each battery box would have its own smaller charging unit installed next to it, which would be networked into the back of the bus.
Sayalv said AVASS the first of its vehicles were expected to roll of the production line in Avalon in July this year, by which time the company needed to deliver quite a few vehicles.
“We have a 10 production-line battery plant in China, and they will be able to deliver by the end of April,” he said. “Once we test that plant from 12-24 months — will be making batteries in Australia.”
Saylav says the company, which has been established for some six years now – has done “exhaustive” testing on its lithium-ion battery technology.
“We have one vehicle that has had the same battery pack for 10 years, and has done well over 650,000km,” he told RE. “I took it for a six-hour drive just the other day.”
Sophie is editor of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and deputy editor of its sister site, RenewEconomy.com.au. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.