Last-mile electric future

Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) has commenced an electric vehicle (EV) program down under after showcasing two of its concepts in Melbourne last week.

Last-mile electric future
Charge and go: Isuzu sees the potential in electric last-mile delivery vehicles


The manufacturer, a long-time leader in the light-duty segment, is looking to EV’s with a range of between 160 and 350 kilometres as a last-mile deliver option in Australia.

While the vast distances in Australia reduce electric vehicle viability in the heavy segment with current range limitations, IAL says the need for light and medium-duty electric trucks to cover last-mile deliveries in urban centres is critical.

Particularly healthy growth can be expected in China and Europe, but IAL still sees Australia as a potential EV market.

"While it’s hard to project where the growth will lead, business consulting firm McKinsey suggests the eTruck market share will reach 15 per cent overall by 2030, while light-duty truck sales could climb as high as 25-35 per cent in Chinese and European markets," IAL said in a statement.

"Discerning if we are at the bottom of a J-curve and EV sales are set to grow exponentially is hard to predict, but adoption has grown faster than expected – and with air quality a significant issue in Chinese cities, China could provide a major impetus for growth."

IAL notes that while battery limitations hindered vehicle range since the inception of the EV, as early as 1902 by Studebaker Automobile Company, advances in technology are changing that.

"This question of power storage and distance has been the stumbling block around the viability of EVs for over a century, and one we’re only just clearing.

"The electric engine of today is now a realistic proposal owing to innovations in energy storage, battery technology, and connectivity that allow vehicles to operate more efficiently and over vaster distances.

"With higher energy and power density and a longer life span, the introduction of lithium ion batteries has provided an energy storage solution far superior to most other batteries.

"Cost reduction has been a massive factor. EV battery pack costs reduced significantly between 2010 and 2016, while in that same period sales of EVs have increased at over 160 per cent per annum," IAL said.

Regardless of the future of EV’s, IAL looks set to lead the charge in the last-mile delivery segment.

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