An Australian outfit is looking to the commercial side of converting old, gasoline-powered trucks and SUVs to EVs, hoping to open up an untapped market for electric retrofitting.
Adelaide-based Zero Automotive is building specialized Land Cruiser 79s for dedicated commercial applications, Charged EVs reports, targeting the agribusiness and mining industries with a series of trucks it's calling the ZED70, for "Zero Emission Drive 70." The trucks are offered as ready-to-drive units, and Zero offers maintenance and support throughout their life cycles.
The trucks are offered in passenger, single- and double-cab pickup and troop carrier variations. Battery capacities of 20 to 120 kilowatt-hours are available, with the latter pushing the total available range up to 220 miles, depending on configuration. Zero caters its pitches to individual industries based on the situational advantages of EV, such as zero-emissions for underground mining. The trucks are also road legal—in Australia.
"An electric motor and ZERO’s proprietary driveline adapters and battery modules are integrated into the vehicle. The result is a product with torque figures exceeding that of a twin-turbo diesel V-8. Increased chassis rigidity, lower maintenance costs as well as easy integration of vehicle tracking and geofencing are all possible with the ZED70," says Zero Automotive's product description.
Bear in mind that the Land Cruiser wasn't offered in the U.S. in this form, and it might be logistically challenging to import. This isn't however the first instance of a company converting workhorse trucks for dedicated industrial applications. Canada's Ecotuned offers F-150 EV conversions, with at least 15 already operating for various clients, including Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, the utility Hydro Quebec, and the grocery chain IGA.
There are also some companies, such as Electric GT in California, looking to develop plug-and-play solutions that would allow customers to easily convert cars and trucks with minimal custom fabrication.
The interest in ventures such as Bollinger, which is in the process of developing no-frills electric trucks and SUVs, might help drive growth in the aftermarket for those who want EV power but might prefer a tough, existing body-on-frame design to a ground-up design.