USA – Sea Electric Holdings Pty Ltd, based in Los Angeles, California, showcased a Class 6 EV stripped chassis at the ACT Expo in Long Beach. Named the SV6, the firm states that the chassis is suitable for all urban applications up to a GVWR of 22,000lbs (9,980kg).
Featuring the company’s proprietary SEA-Drive 120b system, the chassis outputs 335bhp and 2,580lb-ft of torque. Fitted with a 138kWh battery pack, an unladen vehicle can expect a range of 170 miles (270km).
The firm states that due to the medium-voltage architecture of the SEA-Drive system, there is no requirement for active thermal management of the batteries. As a result, the firm claims that its solution is the lightest, most cost-affective, and most efficient system available in the last-mile delivery segment. Durability testing for the chassis is set to commence in Q3 2022, with series production expected to begin in Q1 2023. Conditional orders are currently being taken.
Speaking to Truck & Bus Builder, Tony Fairweather, CEO and Founder of SEA Electric said:
The chassis is a product that can be scaled up and down, but it is primarily intended for the North American step van market. We also intend to homologate it to R100/03 standards so that it is compliant with European regulations. As much as this product is already suitable for Europe, we are looking at a 7.5 tonne variant (Class 4), and some of our customers are already aware that we have intentions to produce an SV5 and SV4 chassis.
Expanding on the company’s plans for Europe, Fairweather added:
Europe is on the horizon, we have already set up wholly owned subsidiaries in the UK, and in Vienna, Austria, with our first employees on the ground and our first product under development. We also have had a product operating in South Africa with Isuzu since before Covid and that has been progressing really well. Also, we have launched our first Toyota-based product in Indonesia.
Tony Fairweather, CEO of SEA Electric, speaking at the ACT Expo
Responding to the launch of competing products in this segment, such as the chassis unveiled by Blue Bird Corp at ACT Expo, Fairweather said:
The main point of difference between our product and its competition is that we have a proven platform that has operated with UPS for three years and has been validated by them. Tested in some of the harshest environments in the US, our products ran through cold winters in Michigan and through summer trials in Arizona. As a result, we’re able to operate in -20°C (-4°F) to 60° C (140°F). Anyone else showing a chassis on the ground right now has not been through the rigorous testing that we have put our products through.
SEA Electric was initially founded in Australia in 2012, before moving its headquarters to Los Angeles to focus on offering its products to the much larger North American market. Commenting on this shift in strategy, Fairweather said:
Developing and establishing technology in Australia, with zero incentives back then, meant that we had to think outside of the box in terms of creativity. Customers in this space want three outcomes: the lowest cost solution, the lightest weight solution, and the most miles per kilowatt hour. Not having incentives in Australia at the time meant we had to take that into consideration during development. A few other companies that were early to this space, based in California, took advantage of schemes like HVIP and it has not done them any favours in terms of what they have created. They’re developing higher voltage, heavier, and costlier solutions which has impacted heavily in those three categories. Now, Australia has more incentives and we’re expanding there as well as in New Zealand. What I wanted to do before relocating to the US was ensuring we had an excellent, proven product with high-mileage testing completed. As an outsider coming to the US, if you arrive here saying you’re the bee’s knees without any proof of it, they’ll squash you pretty quickly - we’ve come here with a million miles of testing, we were active in four countries before coming here.
On funding, Fairweather said:
California and the East Coast in the US are doing a great job in terms of funding. However, governments cannot incentivise too much to support the electrification of diesel vehicles in this space. The middle of America really needs to catch up and there needs to be more consistency and standardisation across individual states and countries.