SEA Electric charges ahead with fossil-free future
AS THE heavy vehicle industry inevitably moves towards modes of power production beyond diesel, the appearance of electric trucks has shown that it is possible to move forward without the use of fossil fuels.
SEA Electric is one company that is at the forefront of electric power generation, producing technology that can be applied to use in commercial vehicles.
Working with OEM manufacturers and also directly with operators, SEA Electric has the ability to see what is possible in the EV market, and how it can help Australia catch up to the rest of the world in electric vehicle development.
SEA Electric at heart is a third party power systems supplier, no different to say Cummins or Detroit Diesel.
The firm sells power generation systems, but does not produce the trucks themselves that they power.
SEA Electric sells the complete means to replace the diesel power system in a truck, ranging from three tonne trucks right up to 23.5 tonne vehicles.
Specialising in metro applications, SEA Electric will showcase this with a Hino garbage collection vehicle and Isuzu empty container carrying vehicle to be on display on their stand, as well as the Isuzu FSR tilt tray at the Isuzu stand.
"As we see it, in three to five years from now OEM manufacturers will have eliminated light to medium duty diesel trucks from their model ranges,” group managing director Tony Fairweather said.
"Electric trucks to travel interstate will take longer to bring about, that requires more development and the price of batteries to come down even more. Our specialty is metropolitan applications though, so we focus on the light to medium duty market.''
Tony believes that OEM vehicle suppliers will have to turn around their businesses 180 degrees to accommodate the sale and service of electric trucks.
"There are two key aspects they will have to undertake. One is to downsize diesel engine production, the second is to change the dealership layout in order to work with the reduced service and spare parts requirements with the use of electric power systems.”
As it stands SEA Electric offers seven power system options, two to suit van platforms and the other five to power trucks from car licence right up to garbage truck applications.
One of the bugbears of electric power systems have been the price of batteries, for replacement when they wear out.
Battery pricing has been gradually reducing as more technology, and supply demands push the cost of batteries ever lower.
From 2010, the price of $1200USD per kWh has come down to $200USD per kWh, with Tony Fairweather talking of a forecast of below $100USD per kWh within the next twelve months.
The density of batteries has increased significantly as well, with the ability to get more power out of smaller battery packs allowing for higher range.
To get a glimpse of one possible trucking future, stop in at the SEA Electric stand 055, near the main entrance of the Brisbane Convention Centre.