Nearly 20,000 all-electric utes have been secured for the Australian market, through a deal between EV startup Atlis Motors and Australian Manufactured Vehicles (AusMV).
AusMV, which remanufactures vehicles like the Ford F-150 for the Australian market, has a number of electric utes – such as the F-150 Lightning – in its sights, but this is the first confirmed deal to date.
Slated for arrival on Australian roads in 2023, the Atlis XT promises a full swag of features fit for any tradesperson, off-road adventurer or weekend warrior.
And going by the specifications on the company’s website, this is a seriously heavy-duty vehicle.
Specs include capacity to tow 15-tonne trailers on a gooseneck, a bed up to 8-feet long, either single or dual motor set up with up to 447kW (600hp) peak power, more than 16,000Nm torque, 0-100km/hr in under 5 seconds and a maximum 250kWh battery with up to 800km claimed driving range.
“Many traditional automakers have overlooked Australia when launching new EVs for a variety of reasons, but we see things differently. Our long-range, fast-charging electric work trucks are ideal for this market,”said Mark Hanchett, CEO and founder of Atlis in a statement.
“We don’t need legislative imperatives and other incentives to ship vehicles to Australia and AusMV knows how to get them into owners’ hands.”
The ute is planned for production in 2022 by US-based Atlis Motors, which in July secured a $US300 million capital commitment from Luxembourg investment group Gem Global Yield and will make its own batteries at a facility in Arizona able to charge in 15 minutes using a proprietary 1.5 megawatts charger.
For the Australian market, the electric ute will be partially manufactured in Queensland, says AusMV’s Eddie Kocwa.
Kocwa tells The Driven that, “this will be the first real electric pickup truck in Australia that’s not a remanufactured ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle.”
Instead, AusMV will receive the Atlis XT with no steering wheel and connection to the drivetrain, and will finish assembling the vehicle to comply with Australian standards.
“It’s a step in the direction,” he says. “We’re expecting some out on the road next year testing. If we eventually start making vehicles here wouldn’t that be great for Australia.”
Kocwa says that there would need to be some alterations to Australian design rules, because the Atlis XT is designed with independent traction to all four wheels, and uses drive-by-wire and brake-by-wire technology.
“Right now the Australian design rules require a mechanical connection from the steering wheel,” he says. “Technology is improving rapidly so the whole ADRs need to be updated.”
If they can get this done, it would be a “game-changer for electric cars,” he says.
In addition to the hefty specifications above, the Atlis XT will include “vehicle-to-load” charging ports in multiple configurations for devices and tools, an air compressor and what Atlis says is the largest frunk (“front trunk”) storage of any vehicle on the market.
Though finer details are still being planned, Kocwa says ideally the final assembly will be in Queensland.
And while pricing is yet-to-be determined, he thinks they will roll out the door. “We are very excited about the Atlis,” he says.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.