Vision to kick-start Aussie manufacturing takes shape

The Society of Automotive Engineers – Australasia (SAE-A) has released a proposal that, if realised, could potentially kick-start Australia’s local manufacturing sector once again.

Despite 2017 factory closures and the recent General Motors announcement that Holden will be pulling out of Australia, the idea of a home-grown autonomous and electric car isn’t just wishful thinking. To help people picture it, the SAE-A has shared images of a modular, composite concept in the form of a police car.

The SAE-A maintains that although the traditional manufacturing industry has been wound down, Australia still has the
engineering know-how and the facilities to move into a new era of mobility and manufacturing. In fact, it could not be better positioned and the timing is right.

“COVID-19 has shown the importance of car manufacturing, and we propose to start with a car that no other country could build,” said SAE-A Chairman and CEO, Adrian Feeney.

The vehicle concept draws on processes that informed the aXcess Australia concept car, designed by Melbourne-based designer Gary Millard in the 1990s. This time around, however, the SAE-A wants to produce not only a concept but a medium-volume production vehicle. To start things off, the SAE-A is joining forces with automotive design company, Delineate. Robert Veitch, who designed the police car concept and leads the Delineate team, has worked with the likes of Tesla.

“We would design it at the cutting edge of near-horizon technology, and we would build it in the medium volumes which Australia has always excelled in,” said Mr Feeney.

And the SAE-A is not alone in its vision to re-energise the manufacturing industry, joining the charge is ACE-EV, with plans to manufacture a series of composite electric vehicles in South Australia and H2X, which intends to bring to market a series of purpose-built hydrogen-powered vehicles.

“The time is right to put money and political will behind our engineers and our manufacturers and rebuild a specialist car industry that can be the envy of the world,” declared Mr Feeney.

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