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Image courtesy of Transgrid.


Transgrid Starts Trialing The LDV eT60 Double-Cab Electric Pickup In Australia

Transgrid operates over 13,000 km of high-voltage transmission wires and 121 substations in New South Wales and the Australia Capital Territory, with connections to Victoria and Queensland, keeping more than three million homes and businesses connected to electricity 24/7 in Australia. Transgrid says its network is the backbone of the National Energy Market, enabling energy trading between Australia’s three largest states along the east coast and supporting the competitive wholesale electricity market. Transgrid says this allows energy users to gain access to the lowest cost generation available. Transgrid’s commercial arm, Lumea, services a range of customers, including renewable energy generators, large load customers, a carrier-grade telecommunications services provider, and government and emergency services organisations. Lumea has a portfolio of over 11,000 MW of renewable energy projects in operation or under construction.

Transgrid has a fleet of 400 diesel commercial vehicles and 28 passenger vehicles that collectively travel more than 14 million kilometres each year. Already, more than half of Transgrid’s passenger fleet is fully electric or hybrid. Now, this week, Transgrid received its first 2023 LDV eT60 electric pickup, or “ute” as pickups are popularly called in Australia. Transgrid will now start some in-depth field testing of the all-electric pickup truck.

Image courtesy of Transgrid.

Image courtesy of Transgrid.

The LDV eT60 double-cab electric pickup has a 130kW/310Nm electric motor and 88.5kWh battery pack. LDV says the eT60 double-cab electric pick up has a WLTP range of up to 330km on a single charge and seats 5. The LDV eT60 is the first all-electric double-cab pickup to go on sale in Australia.

It has an onboard 11kW AC charger with a type two connector and an onboard DC charger with a maximum charging capacity of 80 kW that provides a standard charging time (20–80%) of about 45 min. The LDV eT60 double-cab has a 750kg payload and towing capacity of 1.5 tonnes.

Transgrid says it is leading the acceleration of the renewable energy future and investing in a trial of the first dual-cab electric ute released in Australia. Transgrid CEO Brett Redman said, “Transgrid is building a fit-for-future electricity network that will minimise climate impact and benefit millions of Australians, and we’re cognisant that those efforts must include our own backyard. Our future will be powered by clean energy and this trial is part of Transgrid’s commitment to reach net zero by 2040, including eliminating all emissions from our passenger and commercial fleet by 2030. I’m excited to see our first electric ute hit the road, leading the way for other energy and infrastructure firms by demonstrating it’s possible to transition to a greener fleet and reduce our impact on the environment.”

Image courtesy of Transgrid.

“We know that electric vehicles are cleaner and cheaper to run, and it’s good to see Transgrid making this smart investment to get the first commercially available electric utes on the road for their business,” said Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen. “The government is providing the policy settings we need to encourage the uptake of EVs — and we look forward to more businesses following Transgrid’s lead and getting bang for buck in their fleets,” he said.

Transgrid Fleet Manager Ryan Thomas said the New South Wales trial will put the vehicle to the test to see if it meets operational requirements on the 13,000 km transmission network. “We’ll be gauging the impacts for our people working in the field, including charging and towing requirements, so we can better understand the issues that will make the transition to electric utes as seamless as possible,” Mr Thomas said. “We expect the electric utes will deliver operational savings for Transgrid, including around a 50 per cent reduction in our fuel costs. EV servicing also has advantages, with the average electric vehicle having 20 moving parts in its drive train, while its diesel equivalent has over 2,000. When you have a fleet that covers millions of kilometres each year, these numbers are important to help keep costs down for customers.”

Image courtesy of Transgrid.

Mr Thomas adds that “this is a great opportunity to look at how we work and find alternatives that support emerging technology. Just like we use aerial drone technology to inspect towers, reducing the need of our people to use heavy elevated work platforms, shifting to electric vehicles will benefit the community, our customers, and the environment.”

The LDV eT60 electric double-cap pickup starts from AUD$92,990 dollars (about USD$64,000). It’s great to see companies with large fleets adding electric vehicles to their fleet of vehicles. Fleet operators will have some of the biggest impact in helping to lead the transition to electric mobility.

LDV is a division of SAIC Motor. SAIC, along with BYD, is really leading the way in terms of taking their electric vehicles to the world. SAIC and BYD vehicles are being shipped to all corners of the world, not just to the traditional large auto markets in the developed world. On that note, the LDV electric pickup is one of the first electric pickups that is available in several countries in right-hand drive.

After a slow start, the Australian electric vehicle market is now growing nicely. The Australian Electric Vehicle Council says there are now more than 83,000 EVs estimated to be on the roads, with Australia set to breach the 100,000 mark this year. As more and more EV models are introduced to the market, the market is now primed to really grow and hopefully catch up with other regions across the world where EVs have already taken off. The availability of more affordable models such as the Ora Cat will certainly help catalyse growth. The BYD Atto 3 has also been introduced in the market and has been doing well there as well as in New Zealand. The cheaper BYD Dolphin, which was recently spotted testing in Australia and could be introduced in the market as well, will provide consumers with an even cheaper model to consider.

Australia is one of the leaders when it comes to adoption of rooftop solar, with more than 3 million homes having solar. Accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles will mean a lot of those EVs will be getting quite a bit of charge from solar.

Images from Transgrid

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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.


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