Gupta plans EV plant in Australia, powered by solar and storage

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UK billionaire Sanjeev Gupta wants to use Holden facilities to build electric vehicles in Australia, underpinned by the 1GW of solar and storage planned for South Australia. Conservatives are horrified.

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Credit: AP
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Credit: AP

UK-based billionaire Sanjeev Gupta is looking to buy equipment from and use part of the old Holden factory in South Australia to create an electric vehicle production line in what would be a remarkable transformation of Australia’s car industry and economy.

Gupta, whose GFG Alliance last year bought the OneSteel business in Australia with a view to powering the Whyalla and other steelworks with renewable energy and storage, has the backing of the South Australia government, keen to support what it sees as the “inevitable” transition to EVs.

The proposal to buy the disused GM assets would be a partial reprise of the Tesla story in California, which used an old factory in Fremont, once jointly owned by GM and Toyota, to launch its Tesla Model S electric vehicle.

Any EV production plant at GM’s former operations in Elizabeth, north of Adelaide, would likely source steel from Gupta’s newly acquired steel operations, and use renewable energy supplied by its newly merged SIMEC Zen energy business.

It would underpin Gupta’s plans to build 1GW of solar and storage capacity in South Australia – a state that already sources half of its electricity needs from wind and solar. Around half that capacity is earmarked for Whyalla Steel, but the remainder is looking for other big energy users.

An EV plant would fit the bill perfectly, and would minimise the life-cycle emissions of any EV built there, given the power sources to manufacture the plant, and to provide the electricity to charge the EV batteries.

FJ Holden Business Sedan Brochure Image. (AUSTRALIA)

The development, revealed by the Adelaide Advertiser, comes as conservatives within Australia’s Coalition government looked to extend their campaign against renewable energy to include EVs, arguing that EVs in some state would create more emissions than petrol and diesel cars.

Australia stands almost unique in the western world for its lack of emission standards on vehicles, meaning it has become a dumping crowd for polluting vehicles and has an incredibly low take-up of EVs.

The letter written by South Australian treasurer Tom Koutsantonis to GM Holden, also obtained by RenewEconomy, asks GMH to support Gupta’s plans, which is to ” develop the site as a manufacturing base” for EVs, using  “innovative i-Stream technology”.

The letter, dated January 17, further says:

“We are incredibly excited and supportive of the GFG Alliance’s bid and subsequent plans to ensure the continuation of our very proud history of automotive excellence and innovation in South Australia.

“We believe that the GFG Alliance’s plans would put South Australia at the forefront of the inevitable transition of the Australian market to electric vehicles and ask that all due consideration be given to their bid and the potentially significant benefits to the automotive industry and broader community in South Australia.”

The I-Stream technology was developed by ex Formula 1 designer and engineer Gordon Murray. It stands for Stabilized Tube-Reinforced Exoframe Advanced Manufacturing.

According to this article, it replaces stamped steel with a composite monocoque bonded to a tubular steel frame and plastic bodywork. The result, it says, is a factory that requires 80 per cent less capital investment and 60 per cent less energy,

Gupta is proving to be something of a nightmare for the ideologues and technology troglodytes in the Coalition government and much of the conservative media, upturning all their prejudices about clean energy and new smart technologies.

Gupta has insisted that supplying the Whyalla steelworks with renewable energy – solar, pumped hydro, battery storage and demand management – is critical to reverse its fortunes of the ageing Whyalla steelworks and make it profitable.

The plan is a direct rebuttal of claims that renewable energy would be the death of manufacturing and energy intensive businesses in Australia. Numerous big energy users are now turning to wind and solar to slash their electricity costs.

Gupta intends to take the same model to his even more energy intensive operations in Victoria and NSW, which he also bought as part of the OneSteel package.

Gupta has teamed up with Zen Energy, now SIMEC Zen, to provide electricity to the South Australia government pending the construction of the new solar tower and storage facility in Port Augusta. SIMEC Zen’s contribution will be renewable once its new solar plants and storage are built.

The Australian on Monday, however, ran as its lead article a push by conservatives within the Coalition to fight any incentives for EVs in Australia, apparently on the highly debatable claim that EVs would create more pollution than petrol and diesel cars.

Of course, the emissions on an EV depend on the electricity it sources. The same factions within the Coalition – led by the likes of environment committee chair Craig Kelly, and Nationals MPs Andrew Broad and  John Williams – are fighting to stop the growth of renewables.

“The risk here is you’ll have the rich person in Balmain buying a Tesla, subsidised by a bloke in Penrith who’s driving a Corolla,” Kelly told The Australian.

“And the Tesla will have more carbon emissions than the Corolla.”

A joint submission by the CSIRO, network providers such as Transgrid and Ergon, generation companies such as AGL, and a host of others, found that a first generation Nissan Leaf would deliver cleaner outcomes NEM-wide than a regular petrol car.

But under the scenarios outlined by the Climate Change Authority to meet Australia’s commitment to the Paris climate treaty, then a first generation Nissan Leaf would beat even a Toyota Prius hybrid by 2020, and achieve emission intensity of below 30 gCO2/km by 2030.

That figure, it should be noted, is NEM-wide. In some states, the emissions would be much lower.

However, the threats by the Coalition’s Far Right element, and the description in Murdoch media of EV incentives or emissions caps as some form of carbon tax has put the terrors into prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and energy minister Josh Frydenberg.

Turnbull had marvelled at the benefits of EV technology during a visit to the Tesla factory in 2015 – and hailed the very EV revolution that South Australia is pursuing – but that was before his pact with the conservative faction that elevated him to the Lodge.

Frydenberg has admitted that Murdoch headlines are helping to shape Coalition policy.

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94 Comments
  1. ben 10 months ago

    Cue the inevitable barrage of stories from News Ltd on the evils of EVs, pollution from lithium and cobalt mining, etc.

    • PacoBella 10 months ago

      I rate Rupert Murdoch up there with Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot as the most detestable reptiles foisted on society last century. The untold damage he has done to US, UK and Australian public discourse is beneath contempt. It stands to reason the Coalition frame their policy making discourse based on the lies and distortions of the Murdoch press. They know no better.

      • Hettie 10 months ago

        They do it because it’s what Rupert wants. A loo k at his share portfolio would be interesting.
        In return for Coalition compliance, Rupert guarantees to support them and denigrate the ALP and the Greens at every opportunity.
        Simple.
        Total overhaul of media ownership laws required.

      • Joe 10 months ago

        Please do not so insult our reptilian friends from the natural world. They are much better than than the likes of Rupe and co that you mentioned.

    • Trent Deverell 10 months ago

      Given the hold that the likes the Mining and Metals Association has over the Federal COALition and hence direction of the country/economy/pibic purse, might it be a vector to highlight that as the peak mining industry representatives they hold an extraordinary myoptic view of the world, and present very little reason for the Lithium miners to see any value out of becoming “financially paid-up” members.

      The Qld Resources Council is another organisation that more or less represents Coal 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and then Uranium (mining banned in Qld), and Sibelco’s “sand”-mining on Stradbroke.

    • David Borojevic 10 months ago

      Maybe we should have some crowd funding to buy New Ltd executives some shares in some Australia Lithium mining companies. Perhaps they would see things in a different light then?

    • Ken Dyer 10 months ago

      The ascent of China’s renewable technologies is making Murdoch et al irrelevant. One only has to read articles such as this to understand that the USA is rapidly losing its place in the World.

      https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1114926_will-us-auto-industry-simply-succumb-to-china-over-electric-cars

      Australia needs to step up and take control of its own destiny, rather than slavishly follow the USA, as the Federal COALition seems to want to do.

      • TechinBris 10 months ago

        I think that option was removed on the 11th November 1975 and the subsequent election that followed on from that bloodless little coup.
        We were like lambs, to go to the slaughterhouse, as Merdeoch advised us to do and we haven’t had much choice about it since.

  2. technerdx6000 10 months ago

    I want to see these RWNJs provide evidence to backup their stance. How can an electric car be more carbon intense than a combustion one? There are plenty of sources showing an electric car fully powered by coal is less carbon intensive over its lifetime than a combustion car

    • Sunbuntu Ltd 10 months ago

      Using Brown coal to power the electricity of an EV **may** be more polluting that modern ICE cars.

      • Peter Campbell 10 months ago

        The Garnaut report had it at 30% worse in Victoria but about the same or better everywhere else. We have rather more renewables in the grid since then. Every other analysis I have seen has EVs as a bit better to a lot better, even on a coal-intensive grid, especially if the analyses are well-to-wheel. If you take account of electricity transmission losses, you also have to take into account the emissions from extracting and refining and distributing petrol – petrol has ‘transmission losses’ too!

      • Alan S 10 months ago

        I assume (no evidence) that people who buy an EV are highly likely to have rooftop PV or purchase green electricity.
        And think of all the fossil fuels that were used in making and transporting the EV and its charging infrastructure. Every silver cloud …………

        • Ian 10 months ago

          My cousin charges his Tesla with an 18 kW pv system in suburban Canberra.

          • Peter Campbell 10 months ago

            And Canberra has all the contracts in place for its 100% renewable electricity by 2020.

      • Alex Pittendreigh 10 months ago

        Incorrect! Even if an EV is recharged using a brown coal source, it is still far cleaner than ANY ICE vehicle. How so? Well to power an ICE (let’s take a passenger car or EV as an example). Firstly you need to process the fuel and the power for a refinery uses far more “dirty” electricity than all the EVs currently in the country. You then need to factor the costs associated with transporting the refined fuel. The fuel used for transporting also needs refining along with the emmissions from the transporter itself. You also have to use “dirty” power to pump fuel to/from storage tanks. Finally there are the direct emissions produced by an ICE vehicle. Therefore, EV’s will always be cleaner than ICE vehicles. Simpler drive trains an EV over an ICE also mean generally ‘cleaner” manufacturing. Finally you can always recharge an EV at home from solar panels. Good luck running your own fuel station at home.

    • Mike Shackleton 10 months ago

      It’s a nonsense position. If/when we made a full transition to EVs, we would have a lot more new generation sources on the grid to account for the extra demand. Given that wind and solar are the cheapest sources of new generating capacity and coal units need to be replaced, the source of the electricity will be renewable anyway.

    • Hettie 10 months ago

      Don’t be daft. The whole concept of evidence is against their perverted religion.

      • Hettie 10 months ago

        Replied to wrong comment.
        Sorry.
        Meant for Alex

    • Joe 10 months ago

      If Craig Kelly says its so….that makes it so.

    • MaxG 10 months ago

      No evidence for back up required — they are politicians, spruiking endless spin and blunder… without being accountable for it.

  3. GlennM 10 months ago

    Call the new car a “Holden” and have eight electric motors in a Vee config then it will be a new “Holden V8” and no politician can possibly say it should not be done.

    • Giles 10 months ago

      There’s probably a good case to have an EV with a “petrol cap”, so that pollies can drive into a petrol station and “fill it up”. petrol will go down a funnel and back into the tank below the bowser.

      • Peter Campbell 10 months ago

        I have just bought a second-hand Holden Volt, a plug-in series hybrid. All local trips and the first 70km or so of extra-urban trips are purely battery electric from the mains but it does have a Holden badge and it does have a petrol cap.
        Once you pass that first 70km, petrol consumption so far seems to be about on par with a Prius.
        It might have 8 electric motors. There are two involved directly in pushing the car along, two or three for window wiping, a few more for pumping various coolant fluids about, another for the air-con compressor.

        • Nick Kemp 10 months ago

          So will you be in the Bathurst this year? 🙂

          • Peter Campbell 10 months ago

            No, but I will be going to this:
            https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/ev-show-off-day-2018-tickets-41750270182?
            I went last year with my DIY converted charade and did as well as the iMiEV and Leaf which did as well as some quite posh petrol vehicles. Someone had an uncouth V8 Holden turbo something that made a big noise and spat fluid out its exhaust pipe. It beat the lowest spec’d Teslas but not the higher spec ones.

          • Nick Kemp 10 months ago

            Looks good – Do they ever do a similar thing in Tassie?

            They recently had an EV day in Tasmania that I went to. Mainly parked cars with people happy to chat about them. A nice lady there gave my wife a little demo of the BMW i8. Before that she liked the idea of them mainly based on pollution now she likes them because of the acceleration 🙂

            I’d love it if they did a Jaguar I-Pace round in with the supercars or F1.

          • Peter Campbell 10 months ago

            Don’t know. You could contact the Tassie branch of AEVA, who organised the recent event, or find the local Tesla club and show them the link to the ACT event. It was organised by people in the local Tesla club. It required the cooperation of a local driver training track.

      • Hettie 10 months ago

        LOL

    • Pedro 10 months ago

      Haha… go with a new FJ retro look E8

  4. trackdaze 10 months ago

    Recent study of USA electric vehicles had 32% of EV purchasers also having solar on their roof. At a guess that would be 3 or 4 times the national average.

    The coalition would prefer we continue the economic drag and import ^90% of fuel from overseas? With the lack of efficiency standards meaning the cost is born by the consumer?

    • PaulC 10 months ago

      Fuel imported from overseas with $0.40 per litre excise to the Feds that is.

      Of course if somebody could incorporate pumped hydro into the cars, Malcolm would wet himself in his enthusiasm.

      In any case, saying EVs would use coal power is just disingenuous because it would be simple to increase the RE proportion… states and investors are already doing it as fast as the obstructionist LNP & AEMC will allow!

    • Trent Deverell 10 months ago

      Indeed when you got turn-coats like Martin Ferguson run off and become the talking head for the Australian branch of Chevron cartel, almost immediately after being Industrial Relations and Employment Minister and previous to that the ACTU big knob during a period of major “USA-like transformation” (manufacturing cut-backs & slide in union density and workplace conditions), you gotta wonder about long-term intentions and where any of these characters filling a seat in Canberra fit into the big picture.

      Okay a bit off track, but I suspect the inherent democracy delivered by many, many new participants across any number of Renewables and EV industry projects is akin to stiff storm front across the bow of the fossil’ized incumbents, and as such they are getting mighty desperate to stay off the rocks.

      • Frank Speaking 10 months ago

        Why the recent reports downplaying Li Stocks on the basis of Chinese pricing when the real volume and pricing is South Korea and Japan as China has always had their own internal mines.
        Maybe trying to push share prices down and grab control of as much of the worlds Li supply as possible

    • Brian Tehan 10 months ago

      You’d think that the Defence Department would be supporting EVs because Australia only has a few weeks fuel stocks in case of a war or blockade in this part of the world. They also reduce our import bill as almost all of our fuel is imported nowadays. From an environmental, economic and security view, EVs make sense for Australia.
      We also have all the skills, raw and manufactured materials and a (at the moment) large auto component industry. EVs are obviously much simpler to build from scratch, with no engine, gearbox, drivetrain, etc. We already have electric bus manufacturers. It’s a no brainer for Australia.
      But then, we have the coalition in government….

  5. Diego Fuentes 10 months ago

    Renew Economy can you please indicate where Frydenberg has admitted that Murdoch headlines are helping to shape Coalition policy – this needs to be exposed more widely.

    • Jonathan Milford 10 months ago

      The IPA, Murdoch’s brainchild, shapes COALition policy. Indeed you can be sure that the Abbott promised the IPA to implement as many of their policies as he could get away with, supported by the Murdoch press. They only replaced Abbott with Turnbull as being more popular with the gullible public. It hasn’t changed their policies or stopped their gulling though.

      • Hettie 10 months ago

        Ummm, isn’t the Liberal Party the child of the IPA, just as the ALP is the child of the Union Movement?

        • Jonathan Milford 10 months ago

          And when will they grow up and behave like adults? Children are only concerned with the present. Adults are concerned about the future for their children and grandchildren. Jobs (for cars/toys) vs the environment. It was obvious that Holden should have been making electric cars, not just hybrids, and buses and trucks, suitable for Australian conditions, and taken a lead in the market.
          Reminder: our emissions are still going up and transport is the primary cause. More people die prematurely from vehicle exhausts than from traffic accidents. Etc.

  6. Ken Dyer 10 months ago

    Whilst one can understand while government fools like Kelly are resisting the march of the EV, is this the real reason? Government revenues, particularly fuel excise have been falling for many years now as cars become more fuel efficient.

    https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook45p/FundingRoads

    At some stage, Governments will have to bite the bullet and start charging for road use, replacing such charges as vehicle registration and fuel excise. Again, it is renewable energy that is powering this transition. What it will also do is reduce the number of vehicles on the roads, as people opt for public transport, inadequate as it is.

    The Federal COALition is damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t. It is fighting a rearguard action against the inevitabilty of EV’s, knowing full well it will have to sink a hell of a lot more money into public transport than it is doing now. LNP governments do not do do rail very well, they prefer to use PPP’s to build roads so their mates can slug motorists tolls. Such is the corruption of the Federal COALition.

    • Mike Westerman 10 months ago

      I suspect Ken that the Nats realise that if road use charges become weight and distance related (ie follow the supposed commitment to cost reflective user pays that the LNP habitually runs from) it will hurt their rural and regional base. You have to wonder tho’ how Barny and Dutton defend our ongoing $36B dependence on imported fuel and lack of energy security.

      • Ken Dyer 10 months ago

        Mike they don’t have to. All you have to do is look at carsales.com.au. Over 200,000 vehicles for sale, 62 are electric. Go figure……

        • Goldie444 10 months ago

          Ken Answer — when you have an electric car, you don’t want to get rid of it.

      • Cooma Doug 10 months ago

        Using todays technology, we could have a fee on every road. Driver only 100% fee. 1 passenger 75%, 2 passenger 50%
        3 passenger 25%
        4…nil.

        Then we have the destination given to the car computer at the start.
        Driver is given route options at various costs and this is used to reduce conjestion. The system run using satelite technology.
        Driver could get a positive payment using the conjestion first preference.

        Could be arrangements for various ways to encourage efficient transportation.it b is rediculous having road stall with driver only in most cars.

    • Joe 10 months ago

      Tolls, come to Sydney ‘The Roadtolls Capital’ and drive the tollways…highway robbery thanks to NSW Governments.

      • Ken Dyer 10 months ago

        Here’s an interesting article

        https://bitre.gov.au/publications/2016/files/is_081.pdf

        I think it points up that many avoid tolls and that the privately owned companies (PPP’s) are generally doing it tough. Why am I not surprised that Governments in Australia (lnp and labor) are dragging their feet.

        If road usage tax is introduced, then car ownership will drop.

        • Trent Deverell 10 months ago

          …. and if car ownership drops, then traffic snails will likely ease lessening urgency/demand meaning less on-going capital needed to stump up for upgrades, and thus government (tax-payer) money to spend somewhere else…….

          .. on the other hand people who use public transport in effect pay a toll for every trip they make, so that is an inbuilt measure to match funding with actual demand for public transport focused infrastructure (and by association property and activities that makes best utilisation of)……

          … in the end there is no Ford, Toyota or Holden making petrol/diesel cars in Oz, and hence the politically powerful impact of 100,000 manufacturing jobs that go with that is gone…….

          But we do still make buses and arguably still have capacity to make train-sets, especially electric ones that can be powered by 30-year renewables-based PPA agreement.

          I wonder how long till someone clues up to an old school play recycled in the 21st century… and gets the jump…….

      • Hettie 10 months ago

        No thanks, Joe.

        • Joe 10 months ago

          Stay the course just right where you are, young Hettie.

          • Hettie 10 months ago

            Yes. Well. Wild horses couldn’t drag me back to Sydney! The few occasions when I have to go, I travel by train, and use public transport while there, meeting friends near Town Hall , Martin Place, etc, where pleasant eateries abound.
            After the clean table lands air, Sydney stinks. The noise is horrible, the godawful mess the CBD is in while the light rail is being built is an inexcusable failure oF planning. And the [email protected]$$&/*%$£_.
            Not going anywhere, thanks.

    • MaxG 10 months ago

      Your linked article to “Revenue from road use” is clearly highlighting where the fundamental problem lies in today’s world. “User pays” is all these buff heads can come up with. Expand this further “user pays” for road use, for health care for education, , and the whole idea of sharing in the greater good, looking after each other, is out of the window; it was once called socialism, and social contract. the ‘free market’ maxim has and will continue to destroy what is left of it, through privatisation. — If there were politics to further the social and communal aspects of live, there would be no privatisation, no marginalisation, hence, profits, which should not exist in the first place, such as education and health, would — like in NFP organisations — flow back to the community and not the leeches called shareholders, which simply extract and enrich themselves at the cost of the public. — Again, unless this system is understood and attacked, no amount of whining will fix anything.

      • Hettie 10 months ago

        Fuel excise has been a reasonable weight by distance charge, because heavier vehicles use more fuel than lighter ones, and the further you go, the more fuel is needed (although of course newer vehicles are way more fuel efficient than old clunkers), so logically rural drivers would be no worse off in relative terms than they are now.
        No merit in the argument that weight × distance road charge would hurt rural drivers.

    • Alex Pittendreigh 10 months ago

      There’s roughly $11billion a year going to the dead dinosaur industries today in the form of rebates and other incentives. This needs to be drastically reduced to set Australia up for the future. There’s enough in these allowances to these polluters to cater for road maintenance, transitioning to cleaner renewable energy and transport with slugging the average taxpayer with more costs.

    • Ian 10 months ago

      Careful what you wish for asking for a road use tax. The solution to the problem of transporting people from one point to another is not a simple “one size or mode fits all” . You can’t just have private cars and you can’t just have public trains and busses. A farmer near Dolby cannot catch a train from his house to his neighbour’s house or to Brisbane, and a student cannot afford to drive or park a car from their shared accommodation to the Uni. Ideally you’d want public transport in areas where population density is greatest and private or individualised transportation where people are few and destinations spread out. There are different circumstances governing transport choices. Bicycles and electric bikes are superb for short distances in fine weather and cars including EV are far better for transporting children and equipment/shopping within the suburb setting over longer distances.

      Good luck to finding a balanced solution, but here are my principles to follow in transport planning:

      1. Make travel as enjoyable an experience as possible
      2. Use public or shared transport for commuting to and from work as much as possible
      3. Remove motor vehicles from city centres
      4. Study travel habits and reasons for travel on congested roads to inform better infrastructure decisions.
      5. Review town planning to prevent the perpetuation of the car based urban landscape for green field developments and repurpose existing urban designs to facilitate shorter travel distances and the use of non-car based transport.

      Brisbane is a transport planners nightmare but they have made good strides to improving transport. The elements to a good system are there: creating a pedestrian mall out of Queen street. Bicycle hire, tracks and bridges, passenger ferries, dedicated busways, urban train lines. If planners aim to maximise enjoyment of the travel experience then the likelihood of a good transport system will be assured.

      • Ken Dyer 10 months ago

        Ian, all very good points. We need a rethink. Almost all passenger vehicles on the roads are built to carry upwards of 4, yet we invariably see single occupants driving them.

        The motor car was modeled on the horse an buggy, not an individual horse and rider. There is enough anecdotal evidence around that suggest that standard gauge railway width was derived from the width of 2 horse yoked together in Roma times, which suggests that also is the reason for the width of roads, just as in general terms, footpaths are wide enough for two people to walk side by side.

        Perhaps it is too far a stretch to imagine transport planners could even think outside the square, it would be a big task and would overturn centuries of transport think.

        It really comes down to usage, and the Reddy Go bike scheme provides a model for shared usage. Imagine if you will a fleet of single passenger AEV’s, available to book through an app to turn up as required and to take you to your destination. You don’t own it, merely pay for use. The obvious extension of that is that you can also have AEV’s for multiple passengers. Think Uber without a driver. It is already a reality.

        One strategy is to wean people off cars. Perhaps a first step is to scrap all vehicles over 10 years old. The current average age of vehicles on Australian roads is over 10 years, making it perhaps one of the oldest car fleets in the world, and the most polluting.

        Another strategy is for Government to start spending money on public transport. For example the money spent on the Bruce Highway in Queensland in in the billions, yet only in the millions for rail. Everything is designed to benefit the individual – we just need different designs.

  7. mick 10 months ago

    how good is this bloke surprised the rwrnj haven’t tried too have him bumped off

  8. howardpatr 10 months ago

    Gupta well knows that at the heart of all EVs is the battery system.

    Perhaps Gupta should be talking with UGL about its proposal to build 24M batteries in Darwin.

    Would be great to see an Australian built EV.

    • Goldie444 10 months ago

      We could call the Australian built EV the Ausee.

    • Frank Speaking 10 months ago

      MNS is building a Battery Gigafactory in Townsville, Graphite miner, but just look at the background of the board.
      Is involved with 3 other Gigafactories (with a substantial share , plus providing Graphite and expertise) 1 being built in New York State and 2 in Westphalia in Germany in planning stage with full city, State and Business associations support

  9. Chris Fraser 10 months ago

    All this is wonderful of course. However there was no reason to retire and re-home all of those skilled motor workers, when RE was discussing the proper use for those car plants, back in 2014

    • MaxG 10 months ago

      It would have required a vision and foresight, which none of the leadership in AU has.

  10. Mags 10 months ago

    Wonderful news, eventually we will have a sane government and then there will be no stopping all this. Great use of the old Holden facilities, let’s hope some of the folk who lost their jobs can get them back too.

  11. Robert Comerford 10 months ago

    Hope it all works out, about time we had manufacturing put back into this country. The batteries need to be made here too. Maybe it will be only low production levels which will favour high end users but it would be good if (say) a small SUV at a competitive price could be made.
    Hopefully South Australians will return the current govt or this might well go up in smoke.

  12. Peter Campbell 10 months ago

    So, according to the COALition, we do need to worry about emissions from EVs but not vehicles in general and we certainly should not use an argument about emissions to disfavour coal. As one person said to me, ‘These people couldn’t lie straight in bed’.

  13. Joe 10 months ago

    Ah, ‘End of Days’ is now coming thanks to EV’s. Only the Rupert and his Liberal Party newsrag aka The Australian could adopt that thread as a storyline. And why isn’t GM looking at using their disused facilities to build EV’s. And where is our ‘Agile and Innovative’ PM and his “Jobs and Growth”….SA is ready and able with the factory site and all those former car workers. Building the cars of the future is a NO BRAINER.

  14. Robert Westinghouse 10 months ago

    The LNP just makes me mad….Stupid or they must be sleeping with Big Power…No one can be that stupid or that reckless with the lives of people….I suppose history say the LNP can….

    • Alan S 10 months ago

      Just think of Trump and everything else seems sensible. If that doesn’t work just bang your head against the nearest wall.

  15. Alex Hromas 10 months ago

    The logical extension of the argument that EV’s reduce the amount of tax gathered for roads is that anyone not driving a V8 with a fuel consumption of less than 20 l/100km must be taxed extra. These pea brains fail to see the health costs caused by internal combustion engines in our cities and the fact that if they got out of the way of renewables we would very quickly reduce our carbon footprint

    • Ian 10 months ago

      What about those staying at home, they have ready access to roads but are not using them, there should also be a road access tax to make sure that these leeches on society pay their fair share. Why should those sitting on their couches watching tennis on TV be subsidised by those driving to the tennis court?

  16. Peter F 10 months ago

    One small detail, The One Steel plant does not produce coil for cars. It is a long products mill (beams rails angles etc) adding a coil mill and electric arc furnaces to produce the high strength steels for car bodies when there is world wide overcapacity of these materials would be a billion or two too much even for Gupta

    • John Saint-Smith 10 months ago

      Perhaps these cars will not be made by conventional methods.
      Did you read the bit about Stabilized Tube-Reinforced Exoframe Advanced Manufacturing? Research it. It seems its inventor, Gordon Murray, of McLaren fame has already designed several super light weight EVs based on this technology. Among other things the technology uses plastic composite material bonded to a tube steel frame, and the plastic can be made from recycled bottles – and S.A. is one state that has a bottle recycling program.
      This could be very exciting. Way too exciting to be limited by minor structural problems like this.
      Surely Gupta would have noticed? You think?
      Elon Musk of Tesla got his start in a disused car factory.

      • Peter F 10 months ago

        anythings possible but the steel still won’t come from Onesteel

  17. solarguy 10 months ago

    Something is wrong here, somebody with common sense, is proposing such a wonderful idea. Nah, mate this Australia, things like this just don’t happen here.

    Isn’t only give a fool a go, written the constitution?

    • Hettie 10 months ago

      I think that horse has bolted already. Gupta has the bit between his teeth. No stopping him now.
      Could this man be the saviour of Australian industry?

      • Joe 10 months ago

        Make him ‘The Minister for Manufacturing’.

  18. handbaskets'r'us 10 months ago

    As far as I’m aware most EV drivers have solar PV.
    The ‘long tail pipe’ argument, Mr Kelly, is total rubbish.
    Even if we run out cars on pure coal, the efficiencies and health outcomes are considerably better.
    But we don’t.
    This argument makes me dizzy.
    It’s all f*ing dizzying isn’t it?
    Thank god and Shiva for Mr Gupta.

    • Joe 10 months ago

      I was watching last nights (22/01 ) ABC 7.30 show and who should pop up to offer his words of wisdom about EV’s…the Kelly off course…with his talk that EV’s are more polluting than petrol vehicles and of course his pet topic of no subsidy for EV’s like he wants no subsidy for anything connected with RE and a cleaner environment. But we also had a few lines from ‘The Leader of Australia’…Premier Jay… who naturally is going the full tilt for EV’s. He wants them built in SA!!!!

  19. Robin_Harrison 10 months ago

    What happened to the Bitsoshitty plant at Pt Stanvac? Good place to make Gupta batteries maybe?

    • Rod 10 months ago

      Not quite that far South but it too was set up as a hi tech hub and AFAIK well tenanted.

      • Robin_Harrison 10 months ago

        That sounds like the plant near Flinders Uni. I’m pretty sure they had another plant near Pt Stanvac. Then again the shirt-torn memory banks may be playing up, it’s been a while.

        • Rod 10 months ago

          I must admit being from up North, I’m not that well informed. I’d be lucky to get down South once a year.

          • Robin_Harrison 10 months ago

            More like once a decade for me but SA has a big place in my heart. Incredibly innovative and that’s the place I’ve always imagined an EV industry taking off.

  20. ozmq 10 months ago

    Stop the wind! Nope, didn’t work.
    Stop the sun! Didn’t work.
    Stop the cars! Worth a try.

  21. Blue Gum 10 months ago

    An aussie built ev would be great, shame the coalition allow the nuts in their group steer the ship.

  22. TweedCAN 10 months ago

    It is difficult to charge an EV with home solar if the car is used during the day, if you live in a unit or if you rent. EVs charged at night with grid power would start to drive up Off Peak tariffs. It will be important to build convenient, daytime charging options eg covered solar parking.

    • Ken Fabian 10 months ago

      Recharging elsewhere but charged to the same electricity account? Solar at home can – via billing method – be used anywhere within the electricity network.

      • TweedCAN 10 months ago

        Good idea but still need to dedicate 3kW of additional solar to charge the car. Need to find viable business models to construct additional roof space with solar.

    • Hettie 10 months ago

      Charging points in shopping centres, with solar arrays to shade the cars.
      Solar roadways. (Google it)
      Charging stations at workplace parking stations. At railway station parking lots.
      And with evs having 300 to 500 km range, charge at home on weekends.

      • TweedCAN 10 months ago

        Shopping centres and workplaces get a better return offsetting their own power consumption rather than e-charging. People will pay for sheltered parking. The trick is to encourage solar covering and a dedicated amount of e-charging even while numbers of e-cars are low. I am not sure what the answer will be in countries where it snows.

        • Hettie 10 months ago

          Why should this be either/or?
          And why assume that shoppers would not pay to recharge?
          And why ignore the fact that charging points and shaded parking would be significant drawcads?
          Or that tokens to prove in- centre expenditure above a certain level would waive charging fee would also attract shoppers?
          And since this is an Australian publication, and the government opposition to clean energy is a uniquely Australian problem, countries where it snows are utterly irrelevant.

          • TweedCAN 10 months ago

            While e-car numbers are low the economic incentives for shopping centres just don’t stack up. Nor do they have the roof area sufficient to meet their own power needs with solar let alone e-car recharging. In Australia we can at least use the draw card of sheltered parking to encourage more solar collection and e-charging in public areas. Since we don’t make any cars then the price we pay will depend on how other countries meet the recharging challenge with RE. Depending on driving patterns each e-car roughly doubles the electricity consumption of its driver.

  23. Ian 10 months ago

    Clever man, Mr Gupta is, he has more faith in the manufacturing and engineering abilities of the UK and Australia then the self-deprecating English and Australians.

    It’s like getting the aged to exercise. They think they are past it but there is still movement in those old bones.

  24. michael nolan 10 months ago

    South Australians should show their support for this latest proposal. They could become the California of Australia with renewable energy, low emissions steel, and leading in Concentrated solar thermal.
    The Victorian economy could also benefit as a vehicle components manufacturer.

  25. Nick Kemp 10 months ago

    Makes sense that as a refiner or manufacturer energy costs are one of the largest barriers to competitiveness. So – own the generation, make it cheap and job done.

    Similarly if you care about your family budget then get solar and some batteries run your house and your car quite cheaply – job done.

    Seems business and mums and dads can do the costing on this and they are regardless of the increasingly shrill COALition.

    I have seen talks etc basically predicting that all new cars will be EVs in 3 to 5 years so where will Australians buy ICE vehicles from? Will we be the Cuba of the southern hemisphere?

  26. onesecond 10 months ago

    Amazing. Australia does not even have an own ICE industry that would need protection from a superior technology because of entrenched interests but they essentially diss their own coal plants they love so much anyway. Does not make sense on any level.

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