Whilst watching one of the local news programs recently, an article appeared that took many people by surprise, simply because very few of us knew about the product being launched. It was as if it was top secret and no one should know until the day it came out of hiding. The product is the first of a series of products from ACE-EV, a new entrant to the electric vehicle market and one that is built in Australia.
The first to be launched is the ACE Cargo, a small delivery van suited to cities and any urban area. Capable of 100 km/h with a range of up to 200 kms carrying a payload of 500kg – this vehicle is well suited to the types of deliveries that we see diesel panel vans do. It uses a 23kWh battery powered motor that takes up to eight hours to charge although a fast charger unit is also available. For most small businesses, plugging it in overnight would certainly allow for morning deliveries – possibly a full day depending on the geographical range of customers.
Styling is contemporary with hints of Kia Soul and MINI in it from different angles and it looks like a normal vehicle – so often new entrants deliver something that is awkwardly styled or tries to be too sci-fi. ACE-EV have got the styling right and we think the whole package is a winner. The body is constructed of a lightweight composite sandwich, which helps the performance, although that isn’t the focus of the vehicle. This first product from ACE-EV is all about practicability and getting rid of the larger delivery vans off our streets.
In comparison to a similar vehicle from an established manufacturer: the Volkswagen Caddy, the ACE Cargo is slightly smaller in size and can take a slightly smaller payload. The electric motor delivers about 45Kw compared to the Caddy‘s 92Kw petrol motor or 75Kw diesel power unit. However, the Caddy is at least 500-1,000kgs heavier based on configuration – remember, internal combustion engines are much larger than electric motors and are needed to drag heavier steel bodies around cities! So the benefits aren’t simply in reduced emissions and running costs, it is also a great benefit for the road surfaces that will not get worn and damaged as much.
Other vehicles in the pipeline include the Yewt (a Cargo without a rear roof) and the Urban, which really does have Kia Soul styling and all three use the same electric systems. For urban use, where let’s face it, the majority of buyers will be based, these vehicles would make excellent alternatives to public transport for commuters and the Cargo should certainly be on the shopping list of every logistics company or gig economy delivery driver.
Pricing has not yet been released, however this market is about to get crowded, so ACE-EV will need to ensure that their pencil stays sharp!
The only thing that disappoints us here at Motoring Weekly – and applies to many locally made products – is that the marketing has been woeful. Australian companies do not like to tell people that they have developed a product locally which we find confusing. Why wouldn’t you have a marketing campaign that focuses on local content, local jobs and the fact that the product was designed, developed and manufactured in the country as opposed to many of their competitors whose products are imported. It is such a big selling point – local manufacturers need to stand up and show that they are capable of manufacturing a quality product and stop being embarrassed by it.
The image is owned by ACE-EV and we recommend everyone having a look at their web site and even registering for a test drive!