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Auto Innovation Centre launches EV aftermarket initiative

THE Automotive Innovation Centre (AIC) and Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) have this week launched a new EV initiative the duo says will directly benefit the automotive aftermarket industry.


Thanks to a partnership with the Victorian government, via the ZEV Commercial Sector Innovation Fund, the AIC has taken delivery of two new electric vehicles – a Polestar 2 and a Ford F-150 Lightning – it says will form the foundation of a campaign aimed at supporting the automotive aftermarket industry through the coming EV transition.


It is further hoped the joint venture will help to promote the uptake of electric vehicles among Victoria fleets, as AAAA chief executive officer, Stuart Charity, explained.


“The AAAA has a robust strategy that fosters training, education and networking on EVs, so it is fantastic to see the AIC take delivery of these vehicles,” he said.


“It is vital that the aftermarket is prepared and equipped to service, repair and modify EVs for commercial use, and these vehicles will help us to train technicians, and guide our strategy and communications surrounding the coming EV transition.”


The AIC is a modern facility based in Mulgrave, Victoria, and a provider of automotive scan data and testing services to assist aftermarket product developers in the development of new products.


AIC managing director, Luke Truskinger, says the AIC will make the vehicles available to Victorian companies who are involved in the manufacture and use of fleet vehicles who have a focus on increasing electric vehicle uptake.


“EVs are increasingly in demand from a training, modifications, and testing perspective. Our new vehicles will help us understand unique EV requirements to support technicians and aftermarket developers,” he said.


“The AIC, directed by the requirements of many industry suppliers and product developers, will be undertaking a range of tests and modifications on the vehicles to understand the suitability for various markets and usages.


“We are currently looking for suppliers and modifiers that want to get their hands on these cars. If you want access to these vehicles to boost knowledge, or training, or for testing or product development, please contact us for a chat.”


In addition to the Polestar 2 and Ford F-150 Lightning, the AIC was able to purchase a range of tools and two charging stations to assist in the assessment of EV fleet transition.


Speaking at the unveiling of the initiative in Mulgrave this week, Mr Charity said access to electric vehicles and related equipment was an important tool in keeping the aftermarket industry relevant, and across future developments within the sector.


“This new initiative is part of a broader AAAA strategy which is designed to support our industry on the pathway to electrification – and there is really three parts to it,” he explained.


“The first is to make sure that the AAAA has a seat at the table with both state and federal governments in developing EV policy. While a lot of focus is on lowering the price of EVs and charging infrastructure, it is imperative that these vehicles are repaired and maintained to ensure a useful operational life.


“From this point of view, the needs and concerns of our industry much be factored into government policy.


“Secondly, (the vehicles and equipment) will help ensure our commitment to providing market intelligence, education, and projections on EV adoption rates, so that all our members can make informed decisions about what is coming, and how best to prepare.


“And the third part of this strategy, and the one we’re most proud of bringing to life tonight, is about combining the engineering and technical expertise of the AIC as an opportunity for all of you to use.


“We are seeing a massive increase now in the number of battery electric vehicles on Australian roads and the change in market dynamics is creating a lot of opportunities, and it’s great that our centre can be a part of it.”


The Ford F-150 Lightning and Polestar 2 will be on display at the Australian Auto Aftermarket and Collision Repair Expo in Melbourne from April 11 – 13.


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