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ANCAP blast for EV start-up
ACE EV in firing line from safety watchdog ANCAP over “incorrect safety statements”
21 Aug 2019
INDEPENDENT motor vehicle safety watchdog, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), has taken a swipe at an electric vehicle start-up over what it says is incorrect safety claims in relation to three new models proposed for the Australian market.
The blast for Adelaide-based Australian Clean Energy Electric Vehicle Group (ACE EV) came after the company’s managing director, Greg McGarvie, went on Channel 7’s Sunrise program to talk up the first of these models, the compact Cargo van, that ACE EV hopes to put into production next year.
Asked about the safety credentials for the all-electric van, Mr McGarvie said: “The vehicle is German-designed and has been designed to European standard, and they have NCAP ratings over there.
“Our step here of course is to get the ANCAP rating and everything done in Australia. We don’t see any difficulty.”
Although Mr McGarvie did not claim that the Cargo had been given a European NCAP rating, nor that the van had been submitted for local ANCAP testing, ANCAP chief executive James Goodwin saw red, issuing a statement accusing the company of incorrect claims.
“We have serious concerns regarding the claims made by ACE Electric Vehicles in relation to the safety of their vehicles,” he said.
“Despite the claims made by the distributor in the media, these vehicles have yet to be independently tested for safety either here in Australia or by our European counterparts. The safety credentials of these vehicles are unknown.
“It is also important to recognise that ANCAP is only in a position to test a vehicle once certified and approved for sale in Australia, and after it is compliant with the regulatory standards of the Australian Design Rules (ADRs).
“We would strongly caution any brand against making claims on safety performance prior to independent ANCAP assessment, but welcome the opportunity to discuss the claims and potential testing with the distributor.”
It is not the first time ANCAP has swotted motor companies for getting ahead of themselves over ANCAP ratings.
In 2017, China’s biggest motor manufacturer, SAIC Auto, earned the wrath of ANCAP when it included the ANCAP five-star rating symbol in a brochure for its LDV T60 ute ahead of the vehicle’s Australian launch.
The company explained that it had put the vehicle through simulated ANCAP testing at its research and development facility near Shanghai, and that it had come through with flying colours.
In the event, the T60 did earn a five-star ANCAP rating when it was submitted for official testing in Australia.
ACE EV claims the carbon-fibre chassis of the Cargo, as well as the related Yewt ute and Urban city car will meet required safety standards.
However, the company needs to tidy up some of its detail, as its website lists “ESP” – electronic stability control – as an option. It is mandatory under Australia’s design rules.
The main purpose of Mr McGarvie’s appearance on Channel 7 on Tuesday appears to have been to make a pitch for fresh Australian investors in the project that is yet to go into series production.
Mr McGarvie said he and his partner had invested more than $1 million to get the project to the current stage and had “just about done our dash in terms of money”.
“We are looking for some good investors to take this on,” he said (see separate story).
Provided the project goes ahead, the ACE EV vehicles will be assembled from a flat-pack of six boxes of parts made in China.
South Australian truck body builder Aldom has been engaged as the assembler.
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