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Australian startup launches electric HiLux conversion to market

Australian startup launches electric HiLux conversion to market

Australia’s electric vehicle revolution is underway in 2022, with a small range of makes and models currently available to buy from overseas manufacturers. But with import costs and stamp duty still the highest in the world, the cost of buying even a bottom-of-range EV remains out of reach for 98% of Aussies. This includes the millions who are waiting for an electric – and affordable – version of the country’s favourite ute, the Toyota HiLux. While Aussies continue to wait, one local tech startup has beaten manufacturing giant Toyota to the punch. Roev has created an electric HiLux by converting an existing ute, and is set to release electric HiLux conversion to the fleet market soon as a cheaper, on-shore alternative to importing from overseas.

Australia’s long wait for affordable EVs

In a poll conducted by the Sydney Morning Herald in October 2021, half of the 1600 respondents said the high cost of an EV was the reason they weren’t considering buying one. This isn’t particularly surprising: most of the 31 models available in Australia cost around $60,000, already double or even triple the average cost of a diesel or petrol car. Others said it was the lack of EV charging infrastructure, which Australia has been slow to invest in compared to other countries around the world. This roadblock to EV uptake hasn’t been addressed by state or federal governments, which are yet to offer significant incentives or policies to reduce or remove import costs. This means that manufacturers are reluctant to attempt to sell EVs in Australia.

Electric HiLux conversion: A new way forward

ntil recently, it seemed like there was no option for Aussies other than to watch, wait, or cop the hefty price tag. Enter, Roev. With a long-term goal of manufacturing its own EVs in Australia, tech startup Roev has come up with an innovative solution to speed up EV adoption. It’s launching electric-converted HiLux utes – Australia’s best-selling ute for the past six years – to the government and business fleet market. Roev CEO and co-Founder, Noah Wasmer, explained that the HiLux was the obvious choice for this venture.

“[HiLux utes] are among the worst emitters of CO2 being almost 100% diesel and with high kilometres driven due to the nature of their use,” said Wasmer. “The Roev team is taking action today with an EV Fleet Program to convert current model diesel utes into electric.” Although the cost of the conversions are estimated at $40,000 to $60,000 per vehicle, this solution offers businesses and governments a short-cut to going carbon neutral or significantly reducing their carbon footprint. Roev hasn’t released full details of the converted HiLux prototype yet, which was displayed at its headquarters in the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Keen commentators believe it is likely to have either 70kWh or 100kWh batteries, a single electric motor, and a driving range of approximately 400kms.

We can’t convert your car into an electric one, but we can get your petrol or diesel engine performing at its best. Drop into your local Express Lube for a service or repair anytime – we’re ready for you!

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