Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Commodore EV was almost ready before Holden collapsed

EV Engineering Holden Commodore

When you look at a Holden Commodore, you're not likely to see a "green" car staring back at you. (That is, assuming you're in Australia where the Commodore is sold. Or in the UK where you can get a Vauxhall VXR8. Or here in the US where it's rebadged as a Chevy SS or before that as a Pontiac G8 or GTO.) It is, in many cases after all, a big, rear-drive V8 muscle sedan. Not, in other words, known for its frugal sipping of fuel. But that didn't have to be the case.

According to our VB-guzzling compatriots from Down Under, a joint venture was on the verge of bringing an electric version of the Commodore to market. That joint venture was called EV Engineering, and it was the same outfit that built the (unofficial) record-setting Commodore that drove on electric power alone for a full 24 hours, covering 1,172 miles in the process. With development all but complete, EV Engineering was all ready to bring its electric Commodore to market, until all its constituents started dropping out.

First Futuris dropped out, then Better Place went under, GE Finance pulled its backing and GM turned Holden into an importer. After that Bosch and Air International dropped out, leaving just one constituent to the joint venture. The sole remaining partner, Axiflux is on the lookout for potential partners for the electric vehicle technology on which it collaborated, but given the state of the Australian automobile industry these days, it could be facing an uphill battle - up Ayers Rock, no less - to capitalize on the technology it's got.
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