One of ACE EV’s directors had previously helped build the “switch” vehicle, an early iteration of the ACE Cargo. The first ACE Cargo was assembled here in Australia in 2019 at the MTAQ workshops, and more recently the V1 Transformer TC Series in Brisbane.
“McGarvie has worked with the smart technology developed by directors Gerhard Kurr and Dr Charles Kung. They have fast-tracked the design of a lightweight carbon-fibre reinforced plastic skeleton/monocoque that is at the core of ACE-EV vehicles. The vehicles are made from composite material which is 2–3 times stronger than steel. They are made up of a 14-part ‘skeleton’ and a 58-part ‘skin’. The Yewt weighs under 1000kg with the 30 kWh battery.”
Greg explained the evolution of ACE EV from the introduction of the “swatch” concept by Ernst Thomke and its introduction to vehicle design (2005–2010), then the idea of a city car introduced by Professor Johann Thomforde (2010–2015). Gerhardt Kurr provided the first full composite concept and methodology (2015–2017). ACE EV was born in 2017 with Dr. Charles Kung, Australian Marine Biologist Gregory McGarvie, Chinese entrepreneur Will Qiang, and Gerhardt Kurr. The registered office is in the small town of Maryborough in Queensland. The business began out of a home garage in Hervey Bay.
Federal politicians Chris Bowen (Minister for Energy & Climate Change) and Ed Husic (Industry and Science) were keen to take the trolley collectors for a spin. “The ACE Transformer TC was designed then assembled by ACE EV Group, incorporating sophisticated product technology with advanced design features, each recognised as important, for low-cost transport, low air pollution, and improved delivery services which lift productivity levels.”
The first 20 vehicles are being assembled for Woolworths at a temporary facility in New South Wales this month.
Ed Husic enthused: “Loved this. Woolworths is planning to convert their trolley collection vehicles nationwide to EV, using Australian made ACE utes which are now on trial at selected stores.
“Energy Minister Chris Bowen and I got to have a test drive today and I tell you what, it was so good to see Australian know how in action. Thanks for inviting us Gregory McGarvie, well done.
“We’re keen to see more of this happen — which is why we’re setting up the National Reconstruction Fund — because an Australian Government should be backing Australian businesses and Australian ideas!”
The V1 transformer van should make its debut next month and will be available for test drives — at a venue to be announced. As for the much-anticipated “Yewt,” production should start in Q3 this year. It will be a truly global vehicle. “Bits are coming from all over,” Greg told me. “As soon as we have a manufacturing site, we will bring in our moulding equipment so we can manufacture more parts in Australia. We anticipate that by 2026 at least 50% of the vehicle will be locally sourced. We are setting up our supply chains. The main thing is batteries as they comprise 30% of cost of the vehicle.” ACE EV is looking for a local battery supplier.
The conversation around electric cars has changed markedly since the switch in federal government. With current federal and state government support, Greg believes that the level of risk for investors supporting EV startups in Australia has decreased. ACE EV is looking for investors to accelerate its growth in order to satisfy the market appetite for “useful” EVs like the Yewt and the V1 Transformer van.
The Yewt is slightly larger than a Subaru Brumby and is jokingly referred to by Greg as “Tupperware on wheels,” with a mobile phone brain and a big battery.
ACE EV’s managing director, Greg McGarvie, has a background in business, marine education, and training sciences. His interest in the marine environment led to his passion for decarbonising the automobile industry. In an interview last year, he made the following points:
“The Australian assembled ACE Cargo was launched by Dr John Hewson at the Sydney International Convention Centre. ACE EV Group is part of a global strategy with German and Taiwanese corporate partners.” He says that ACE EV is focused on the “humble van” or “ute” that provides a “smartphone like” user experience.
“The ACE EV is inexpensive, light, and flexible, using carbon fibre composites and targeting green plastics. It is kept simple by hiding the complexity in the design. It can be repaired easily — on a farm, in the outback of Australia, at home, in a garage, or upgraded at any one of the future ACE EV partner service centres. The vehicles are export capable, able to be shipped as a ‘smart assembly pack’ for local builds.”
He highlights the key challenges to EV adoption and the role media, especially NewsCorp, needs to play: “Media have an important role with electric vehicles to reflect the science truthfully. To do otherwise is hazardous to humanity and our grandchildren’s future. Alternate truths and opinions passed as fact do no good for community trust and understanding.
“NewsCorp now claims a focus on a zero-emissions future, no easy task as they have built a generational readership that puts science beneath the opinion leaders. The NewsCorp Global Environmental Initiative is an opportunity. The Australian editorial board announced plans, in October, for a major editorial project that will inform Australians about the key environmental and climate issues of our time, and the options Australia and Australians would need to consider in order to reach a zero-emissions target.
“To meet their targets, NewsCorp will need a sustained flushing out of climate deniers and commentators, currently still on platforms contributing to distortions and mistruths about the risks of climate change and the benefits of renewables and electric vehicles.”
Well said, Greg. You can hear more about ACE EV here. I am looking forward to seeing tons of Yewts and Transformers on the highway!
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