Bringing vehicles into Australia is a complex business, and it is one that is growing – and changing – as AutoNexus, automotive logistics solutions provider for a number of automakers including Tesla, is experiencing.
AutoNexus has become the Tesla logistics “handler” when the Californian carmaker’s all-electric vehicles arrive in Australia aboard cargo ships from Pier 80 at the Port of Oakland, San Francisco.
With the arrival of the best-selling Model 3 in Australia, there has been a great deal of focus on the ins and outs of the dockyards, as we reported on Friday. See First Tesla Model 3 electric sedans for customers arrive in Australia
But it is not as simple as driving the vehicles off the ships and delivering them to dealers (or in the case of Tesla, showrooms), as AutoNexus managing director Darren Bowler tells The Driven.
Before any type of vehicle, whether it be electric, hybrid or internal combustion engine, leaves the docks, there are a number of tasks that AutoNexus must conduct to prepare the vehicles for Australian roads.
“At any one point in time, 3-4,000 vehicles can arrive into port,” Bowler explains.
“Once the vehicles are cleared – there’s a three day clearance – the vehicles will come into our processing centre.
“They leave our premises with ADR certification, compliance, service books, emissions labels, including any campaign work before the car is sold to the dealership, such as a rework once the vehicle leaves the ship,” he says referring to modifications that may be required by any vehicle to meet Australian laws.
This includes for the Tesla Model S and the Model X – and also the Model 3.
“We do all of the Tesla vehicles arriving into the country,” Bowler says.
“They arrive into our compound, where we prepare them and do an inspection on arrival, and put them through a charge process,” he says.
While Bowden cannot confirm the presence of Model 3s on the recent Cap Capricorn ship that arrived in Port Botany on Friday, it is typical for importers with smaller numbers of vehicles to use container ships compared to RoRos (roll-on roll-off) ships.
“The containers provides protection for those vehicles as well,” Bowler says.
Once vehicles have been cleared, it can take 2-5 days for the vehicle to be prepared for delivery depending on the type of work required post-arrival.
This can include such anything from software, electrical or mechanical replacement of the components before vehicles are shipped to dealers.
The increasing influx of electric vehicles onto the Australian market is pushing a need for change at AutoNexus, including ensuring that staff are equipped to deal with new electric vehicle technology.
“If we look at the next five years from the mobilty solutions focus, EVs will certainly come down in price, demand will go up and that will bring prices down,” Bowler says, and with that more and more EVs will be imported.
“We are here to help the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) bring those EVs into the country and bring them into their dealerships.”
In addition to ensuring staff know how to charge an electric vehicle and check the status of battery health, one such possible modification that AutoNexus may be required to perform for EVs going forward is the addition of acoustic vehicle alert systems (AVAS), should new rules being considered by the federal government become mandatory.
Along with parts warehousing and fleet conversions (AutoNexus also handles both Victorian and Queensland police vehicles as well as NSW Ambulance Service for example), which entails numerous other services from installing navigation and auxiliary power electrical systems, or adding tow bars and bull bars, canopies, and racking, the company certainly has its work cut out.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.