Technology ,

AN ELECTRIC ute capable of 800km between charges, a fast charging time of 15 minutes and able to tow up to 9000kg is earmarked for Australian import and part-manufacture under a bold new plan launched by Queensland company Australian Manufactured Vehicles (AUSMV).

A deal between AUSMV and US start-up Atlis Motor Vehicles plans to import 19,000 of the Atlis XT EV four-door utes into Queensland for engineering into right-hand drive, to be then sold through its network in Australia and New Zealand as well as South-East Asia.

AUSMV director Eddie Kocwa told GoAutoNews Premium that the volume of 19,000 units his company has agreed to take will be spread across those markets from 2023 to 2025.

AUSMV is part of Boss Capital Holdings that also owns SCD Remanufactured Vehicles which specialises in the right-hand drive conversion market for US trucks including Ram and Nissan Titan utes.

Atlis Motor Vehicles (AMV), a battery manufacturer, has developed a new ground-up design for a four-door ute made by AMV in Mesa, Arizona, that boasts 16,000Nm of electric motor torque.

In a statement, AMV said it expected to produce 150 utes in 2022 before aiming at 75,000 a year in 2026.

One prototype has been built at this stage. It is the equivalent size and capacity as Ford F250 and F350 models with a 2.4m long bed and payloads of up to 9000kg (although 2300kg is the standard). AMV claims that when it is configured as a fifth-wheeler, it will haul up to 16,000kg.

XT Prototype

The drivetrain is a single or dual electric motor set-up rated up to 447kW/16,000Nm to give the ute a 0-100km/h time claimed to be less than five seconds. The 250kW/h battery claims up to 800km of range and the ability to be charged from 0-100 per cent in just 15 minutes. The batteries are made by AMV.

The key is claimed to be new battery technology developed by a South Carolina university which is said to differ from existing battery design by its thermal management design. 

AMV said, in an article with Forbes magazine, that it plans to focus future production on batteries once the ute production is underway.

It also said that the key to the battery storage was the technology that could manage thermal loads and control the flow rate when recharging.

It also uses 1600-volt charging compared with current 400 or 800-volt DC chargers. To be compatible with existing chargers, AMV said that the 1600-volt system can divide itself into 400 or 800-volt parcels.

Mr Kocwa said the ute would be aimed at commercial vehicle users particularly trades but the high tow rating and long range would make the Atlis XT ideal for grey nomads while its electric drivetrain and payload would suit mining operations, including underground operations where exhaust emissions are critical.

He said the market would be strong for a vehicle with its capabilities with commercial applications being the strongest market, both in Australia and Asia.

The utes are expected to arrive at AUSMV in early 2022 for engineering and testing. The Atlis is designed to have electric “by wire” steering for the US market but this contravenes existing rules in Australia, meaning the introduction of a mechanically-linked steering system.

Mr Kocwa said AUSMV was talking to the federal government about updating the Australian Design Rules to allow “steer by wire” technology.

AMV CEO Mark Hanchett said in a statement that Australia would be an ideal market for the Atlis because of the XT’s long range and fast-charge capabilities.

“We don’t need legislative imperatives and other incentives to ship vehicles to Australia and AusMV knows how to get them into owners’ hands,” he said.

AMV is backed by $US300 million in funding from Luxembourg investment company Gem Global Yield. Funds will go primarily to make the batteries in Arizona using technology developed by the Clemson Nanomaterials Institute in the Clemson University in South Carolina.

By Neil Dowling

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