Over the last decade, the Australian car industry has been in a long-term decline.

Ford, General Motors, and Toyota have all decided to end local vehicle production, opting to import cars from other markets instead.

But one Australian company plans to begin production of a new electric vehicle later this year.

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It's just too bad that vehicle will never see the light of day.

That's because the Tomcar LV1 is an off-road buggy designed to operate inside mines.

Tomcar already sells a line of gasoline all-terrain vehicles, and the company has been testing this electric version for the past two years.

Tomcar LV1

Tomcar LV1

The LV1 is Australia's first locally designed and built electric vehicle, according to WardsAuto.

It uses 60 percent Australian-made components, and meets all relevant mine safety standards, says Tomcar.

Its electric motor produces 80 horsepower and 110 pound-feet of torque in normal operation, but can temporarily achieve peak output of 135 hp and 221 lb-ft.

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Tomcar will offer multiple battery-pack options, ranging from 12 to 20 kilowatt-hours.

We don't have range figures, but the enclosed environment of a mine probably means the LV1 won't stray too far from charging stations in everyday operation.

The lack of exhaust fumes will certainly be a plus underground, and there will likely be other benefits too.

Coal, by Flicker user oatsy40 (Used Under CC License)

Coal, by Flicker user oatsy40 (Used Under CC License)

Like all electric vehicles, the LV1 is nearly silent, and boasts lower operating costs because of fuel savings and less need for maintenance.

Other electric vehicles have already been developed for the mining industry, from small utility vehicles to large dump trucks.

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Startup Nikola Motors also recently unveiled an electric all-terrain vehicle called the Nikola Zero that's thematically similar to the LV1, although the company has not discussed commercial applications.

Tomcar hopes to begin LV1 production at its facility in Melbourne in November, and deliver the first vehicles to customers in February 2017.


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