The Chinese electric vehicle giant BYD, backed by Warren Buffett, is to offer its all-electric trucks to the Australian market in a partnership with Macquarie Group, and it expects its electric trucks will achieve competitive lifetime costs with those of the current fleet of diesel trucks.
In one of the most significant developments in the Australian EV market, two models of BYD electric trucks will be offered to the Australian market; the T5 and T6 models. Each of the models has a range of 300km on a single charge, and will be targeted towards the small to medium logistics companies in Australia.
The trucks will provide a comparable loading capacity to those of diesel trucks, and Adelaide firm Nexport, which will be the local distributor, sees very little, if any, impact on the day-to-day operations of existing truck operators following a shift to the electric trucks.
In fact, BYD hopes to help generate significant reductions in ongoing operating costs for businesses.
While the trucks will have a higher upfront costs, the fuel savings are expected to be considerable. Nexport estimates that operators could achieve “like-for-like” savings of up to 40%, saving $6,000-$10,000 annually for trucks driving 50,000km a year.
By shifting to a fleet of all-electric vehicles, truck operators will have an opportunity to both reduce their ongoing running costs and to significantly reduce their environmental offprint, running vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions.
All-electric trucks will be offered with financing packages provided through Macquarie Group’s Corporate and Asset Finance. Purchasers will be able to acquire trucks through a leasing model, allowing trucking companies to offset the costs of the electric trucks with the significant savings achieved through avoided fuel costs.
The financing model helps to address the upfront cost barrier for electric trucks, which are more expensive than their diesel equivalents, but provide significant reductions in ongoing costs.
The attractiveness for truck operators will be the opportunity to use fuel savings to offset the cost of the trucks and providing long-term savings.
“We are pleased to be working with BYD and Nexport to support the roll-out of BYD’s electric commercial vehicle line in Australia and New Zealand,” Mcquarie Corporate and Asset finance’s Scott Simpson said.
“This is an exciting opportunity to work with a uniquely experienced team to deliver cost effective and proven low emission vehicle solutions to commercial vehicle operators in the region.
“We see increasing interest in fleet and rental solutions in a range of industries and markets where demand for LEV’s is growing, and look forward to working with BYD to explore this, not only in electric trucks, but also other significant EV markets, such as airports and logistics.”
The buses will be the first factory-built buses offered into the Australian market, and will be sold under the BYD brand.
Under the deal, Nexport will be responsible for local sales of the BYD trucks, and provide support for trucks sold across Australia and New Zealand.
Nexport recently announced that they would to offer electric passenger vehicles in the Australian market under the Evant brand and based on BYD models in a joint venture with Fusion Capital. Evant has plans to ramp up Australian-based manufacturing of the electric vehicles with the eventual aim of the full manufacture and assembly of vehicles in Australia.
Nexport hopes to extend its electric vehicle offerings to medium and large size trucks by early 2020, and to include rubbish collection and sea and air port suitable trucks in the near future.
BYD has supplied small-orders of buses to various Australian governments, including two Cambridge branded all-electric buses to the ACT Government in 2017.
BYD has emerged as a major contender in the emerging global market for electric vehicles, posting sales numbers that have challenged Tesla for the top spot. BYD has invested heavily in its design team, luring former Audi Group chief designer Wolfgang Egger to work on its passenger vehicles.
Egger’s work culminated in the launch of six new BYD passenger vehicles earlier in the year, with models including sedans, and compact and mid-sized SUVs, and the family sized BYD Song Max van.
BYD has strongly invested in infrastructure to support the deployment of electric vehicles, including the deployment of wireless electric bus chargers in Indianapolis. The wireless charging inductors will deliver 300kW of charging capacity, allowing the US State’s a 33-strong electric bus fleet to operate on a 24/7 basis.
BYD has also invested in the direct production of battery systems, to supply both its electric vehicle production, but also as it targets the home battery storage market, establishing the world’s largest battery manufacturing facility in Western China’s Qinghai province, with plans to produce up to 24GWh of battery devices annually.
It is understood that BYD is also looking for a location for a potential new Australian headquarters, people familiar with the matter have said.
Michael Mazengarb is a journalist with RenewEconomy, based in Sydney. Before joining RenewEconomy, Michael worked in the renewable energy sector for more than a decade.