SEA Electric moves to assembling battery-powered trucks

Development comes as Australian commercial EV market heats up


SEA Electric expects to see company assembled and badged trucks based on Hino 500 Series Wide Cab GH, and Hino 300 Series 816 models.

The Melbourne-headquartered company is placing its SEA-Drive battery electric power system into Semi-Knocked Down (SKD) chassis kits with a view to seeing retailed them through SEA Electric dealers.

It notes that this is a progression from retrofitting vehicles designed for diesel engines, which is where the local link with Hino began.

The move comes as traditional truckmakers, notably Daimler and Volvo, are eyeing the Australian commercial electric-vehicle (EV) market seriously, along with and pure-electric or hydrogen fuel-cell players.

“SEA Electric is privileged to be able to bring this Australian first to the marketplace,” SEA Electric regional director for Oceania Glen Walker says.

“These trucks truly meet a need in the marketplace, and prior to this launch, we have received pre-orders for 46 vehicles from some of Australia’s biggest companies and councils.

“It represents an exciting phase in global EV development, and this places SEA Electric at the forefront.”

Both models offering a range of motor, battery, chassis and axle configurations.

At the top of the range is the SEA 500-225, a 6×2 axle configuration, allowing for a maximum body length 9,240mm, and a GVM of 22,500kg.

The SEA 500-225 is available with a “range-topping” 280kWh battery, with full details of the SEA-Drive 280 power system will be released shortly.

The medium-duty SEA 500 is available in a pair of 4×2 configurations with a maximum body length of 8,930m and a GVM range between 14 to 17 tonnes.

Drivetrain options include the SEA-Drive 120-35 and 180-35, which are both powered by an electric motor producing maximum torque output of 3,500Nm and maximum power value of 350kW.

The 120-35 has a battery capacity of 138kWh and an unladen range of 175km, while the 180-35 features a battery capacity of 220kWh, and an unladen range of 200km.

The light-duty SEA 300 range is available in a variety of wheelbase, payload and body length configurations, all with a 4×2 axle format, and GVMs ranging from 4.5 to 8.5 tonnes.

Read TT’s survey of operational experiences with SEA-powered trucks, here

“The SEA 300 range can be ‘specced’ up with one of three motors,” Walker sys.

“The 700Nm torque and 127kW variant powers the SEA-Drive 70-7, combined with its 88kWh battery it is perfect for the car licence 4.5tonne GVM truck.

“Ideal motors for up to 8,500kg GCM are the midrange 1000Nm of torque and 108kW of power for the SEA-Drive 100-10.

“If 1,000Nm is not enough, perhaps the 1,500Nm of torque and 125kW of power from the SEA-Drive 100-15 is more to your fancy?

“In addition to two motors, the SEA 300-85 is available with two different batteries, providing capacities of 103kWh through to 138kWh, which provide for unladen ranges from 210 to 300km.”

All SEA-Drive power systems are said to have an operating temperature range of -20°C to 50°C, with empty to full charging times ranging from approximately five hours for the SEA-Drive® 70, through to 12 hours for the SEA-Drive 180 iterations.

The standard charging equipment for all SEA-Drive models features a three-phase 32amp onboard charger with 5-pin plug, charging at up to 22kW/h.

“A key feature of this charging system is its access to the world’s largest charging network, namely truck workshop three-phase power,” the company says.

Optional DC to DC fast-charging increases the charging rate fourfold to 88kW/h.

 “Real world testing of in-service vehicles that travel up to 1,000 kilometres per week has revealed daily recharging costs of less than $14 per day using standard off-peak electricity prices of 15c per kWh,” the company says, or less if depot solar is used.

“Future proofed with an upgradable plug and play architecture, the SEA-Drive Power-System can be charged using the world’s biggest charging network, which is 415V 3-phase power via the truck’s standard on-board charging equipment, with optional DC fast charging also available.

“The fast charging option enables a charging rate four times faster than standard, and offers range extending top-ups during lunch hour or vehicle loading.”

Roadside assistance is to be available through NTI for the life of the warranty period.


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