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EV factory locked in for Victoria

Latrobe Valley to be EV manufacturing hub following state government announcement

30 Oct 2018

VICTORIAN premier Daniel Andrews has announced that the state government will support an Australian-owned company to build a new electric vehicle factory in the Latrobe Valley, creating about 500 new jobs in the region.
 
The Latrobe Valley was hit hard by the closure of the Hazelwood power station in March 2017, with 700 people losing their jobs.
 
Victoria lost its mass automotive manufacturing industry in October last year following the closure of the Ford, Holden and Toyota plants.
 
The announcement comes in the lead up to the Victorian election, with the state set to head to the polls on Saturday November 24.
 
Premier Andrews tweeted the announcement of the new factory and took a swipe at the federal Liberal party for its lack of support for the automotive industry.
 
“The Liberals drove the car industry out of Victoria, destroying jobs. Our Victorian Labor team in the Latrobe Valley is doing the opposite – supporting jobs, including 500 at a new electric vehicle factory to be built in this community.”
 
According to The Age, the state government struck a confidential five-year deal with SEA Electric to build the factory in Morwell and it is likely that Latrobe Valley residents who lost their jobs when Hazelwood closed will be given the chance to train with SEA Electric through the government’s employee transition service.
 
SEA Electric is an Australian company based in Dandenong that specialises in electric vehicle drivetrain development. 
 
The company has developed three electric drivetrains under its SEA-Drive umbrella and while they use the same technology, SEA Electric says they are scaled “to provide the most efficient and cost effective drive for the size of donor vehicle platform that it will adopt”.
 
It is unclear how much financial support the state government will kick in to assist SEA Electric, but the funds were drawn from the $266 million Latrobe Valley support package that was set up by the Labor government to support the transition from coal.
 
The new factory, in conjunction with the existing production facility in Dandenong, is expected to produce the powertrains for about 2400 electric delivery vans and minibuses per year based on SEA Electric’s tech.
 
The EV4 vans are powered by the SEA-Drive TM 70 drivetrain that has a 70kWh battery capacity and a driving range of more than 300km, according to the company.
 
Premier Andrews said the new factory would generate jobs in the Latrobe Valley rather than moving jobs from Melbourne.
 
“The announcement today … is all about making sure the Latrobe Valley is the national capital for electric vehicles,” he said at the announcement this morning.
 
“There will be jobs in the construction of the factory, and of course when you are producing 2400 vehicles a year there are great opportunities for more of that supply chain to be brought into this proud region.”

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