Australia’s vehicle making industry is rising like a phoenix from the ashes in an unlikely but interesting form.
If the promises prove true, rolling out of an Adelaide factory next year will be the ACE Yewt, a small electric ute designed for light city delivery duties with an astonishingly small price tag of under $26,000.
Just to make it clear, The Yewt is no Ford Ranger Raptor competitor. At 3,900mm long it’s very short and that carrying capacity of 500kg won’t win its owners any bragging rights, nor will its top speed of just 100km/hr. Its range is limited too – just 150-200kms.
But here’s the thing - the running costs of that modest little ute promise to be quite astonishingly low. How low? Well ACE’s bold claim is that it will lower running costs by up to 85% and greenhouse emissions by over 70%.
ACE believes it “will pay for itself faster than any other fleet vehicle available.”
That must make it a very tempting proposition for ACE’s target market: couriers, home nurses, government agencies, catering companies and other city businesses who don’t need to carry big, heavy loads or travel long distances.
Indeed, on the face of it the Yewt is an absolute “category killer” in the market for light, city delivery vehicles. With lower running costs and a lower purchase price than its competitors, you could reasonably expect ACE’s sales team to be beating the customers off with a stick, such would be the strength of demand.
At just $26,000 the Yewt ticks a lot of boxes: It’s cheap to buy and run; it’s small and easy to park; and your business will earn its green credentials.
The Yewt is also nippy in the traffic. It will do 0-50kph in under 7 seconds. Nought to zero may be a novel acceleration measure, but it makes sense in the Yewt’s likely world – dicing it with city traffic.
What’s not to like about it if you’re in the market for a cheap urban delivery vehicle? Well, there is the looks of the thing I suppose. There’s no getting around it, that little ute is, ahem, different.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the Yewt is certainly going to stand out on the streets and draw some attention to your brand and its greeny credentials.
The big question, of course, is whether the Australian start-up can actually deliver the goods, if you’ll pardon an awful pun.
News about ACE has been a little thin lately, and what little there is suggests that production has been pushed back from 2020 to October 2021. That price – under $26,000 – does seem a little too good to be true. It’s approximately $14,000 below the price of the next cheapest electric vehicle in Australia, the MG EZS, which is mass produced on a much bigger scale. Time will tell.
ACE aims to produce 15,000 vehicles a year by 2025. It’s a modest ambition for a vehicle maker – Toyota pumps out over ten times that number every week – but it’s nevertheless reasonably ambitious for an unknown start-up.
ACE is teaming up with Adelaide’s Aldom Motor Body Builders to assemble and build them from parts sourced in South Australia or imported from China, taking advantage of the state’s long vehicle building experience. It’s taking orders right now for them.
The company has its eye on the export market and intends to ship them out in smart packs for assembly in the country of destination.
Its ambitions don’t end with the Yewt. It also has an electric cargo van and a two-door city car, the ACE Urban, in the pipeline.
You might be surprised to learn that ACE isn’t the only electric vehicle manufacturer in Australia. Victoria’s SEA Electric is producing electric trucks based on the Hino 500 Series medium-duty and 300 Series light duty models.
The reports of the death of Australian vehicle manufacturing have been greatly exaggerated it seems.