Thousands of Toyota Hilux and LandCruiser utes will be locally converted for emissions-free use predominantly on mining sites, after Australian firm GB Auto finalised a multi-year deal with US electric tech firm Vivopower.
The deal comes after NASDAQ-listed Vivopower purchased a major share in Dutch engineering firm Tembo 4x4, which already build emissions-free Toyota vehicles for mining.
Under a seven-year partnership just signed by GB Auto, the mining vehicle specialists will buy 2000 e-LV conversion kits from Tembo 4x4 over the next four years and convert a fleet of Hiluxes and LandCruiser utes in Orange.
More local conversion sites will follow based on customer locations.
GB Auto's deal is the culmination of a three-year program which saw the company develop Tembo electric conversion kits for right-hand drive applications while offering guidance on how local LandCruiser and Hilux ute architecture differs in our local market.
Tembo assembled its first Australian-issue Toyota e-LV prototypes in the Netherlands - where it also sells electric Toyota utes to other countries - but GB Auto will fit vehicles with the conversion kit including wiring harnesses they designed.
The company says the 2000 kits are poised to generate A$327m in revenue from complete-vehicle sales.
The kits are specially designed for the rigours of mining, where they reduce vehicle emissions and maintenance demands.
The kits will provide around 200km range with the standard-fit 72kWh battery, with on-site charging networks ensuring a fast turnaround. Higher-range options may follow.
At the same time, Vivopower will assist in financing, building and maintaining the electric vehicle infrastructure on mining sites in Australia by leasing vehicles and batteries, retrofitting depots with charging microgrids and offering EV battery "second-life applications”.
Fittingly, while Vivopower provides crucial oversight in these areas, GB Auto already offers a deeply entrenched network in Australia, with multiple locations in place across regional NSW.
While GB Auto cannot share who its customers are just yet, WhichCar understands they are key players in the mining industry.
Electric mining vehicles have also been trialled by companies such as BHP, who are targeting a 30 per cent reduction in operational emissions, with converted LandCruisers built by different suppliers already on the ground in South Australian and Queensland mines.