SEA launches locally assembled electric trucks and tech details


Melbourne based company SEA Electric has commenced volume commercial production of electric trucks that it says will cost under $14 per day to charge from the grid, and even less if depot solar is used, with the first of the vehicles currently on the SEA Electric production line in Melbourne.

SEA launches locally assembled electric trucks and tech details
SEA use Hino trucks as a base and add electric drivelines

Proudly Australian since its inception in 2013, SEA Electric says it has grown a global reputation for its innovative electric power system solutions for commercial vehicles.
 
Two SEA Electric-badged vehicles, the SEA 300 and SEA 500, based on the Hino 500 Series and Hino 300 Series models, are now available for purchase.
 
"SEA Electric is privileged to be able to bring this Australian first to the marketplace," says SEA Electric regional director for Oceania, Glen Walker. 
 
"These trucks truly meet a need in the marketplace, and prior to this launch, we have received pre-orders for 46 vehicles from some of Australia’s biggest companies and councils.
 
"It represents an exciting phase in global EV development, and this places SEA Electric at the forefront.


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The trucks are propelled by SEA Electric’s SEA-drive power-system, which is available in various performance and range packages to suit applications from 4.5 tonne car licence vehicles through to 22.5 tonne 3 axle trucks.
 
Previously only available as a retrofit option for existing diesel vehicles, the trucks are assembled from semi knocked down (SKD) kits, complete with a fully integrated SEA-drive power-system from new.
 
SEA says that real world testing of in-service vehicles that travel up to 1000 kilometres per week has revealed daily recharging costs of less than $14 per day using standard off-peak electricity prices of 15c per kWh.

The underside of an SEA truck reveals all of the electric workings

Future proofed with an upgradable plug and play architecture, the SEA-drive® power-system can be charged using the world’s biggest charging network, which is 415V 3-phase power via the truck’s standard on-board charging equipment, with optional DC fast charging also available.
 
The fast charging option enables a charging rate four times faster than standard, and offers range extending top-ups during lunch hour or vehicle loading.
 
From an operational perspective, lower maintenance and running costs are possible, with diesel consumption eliminated and fewer moving parts minimising service costs.
 
"Our electric Power System features a host of key features, including smooth application of torque, industry-leading range, whisper quiet operation, and importantly, a reduction in the truck’s carbon footprint, with zero emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane," Walker says.
 
Another highlight of the trucks are the improved workplace health and safety conditions for operators, with the powertrain producing no noise or fumes while reducing vibrations, which combine to limit driver fatigue.
 
"SEA-drive technology performs exceptionally well in congested urban environments, where pollution reduction is needed most, and as demonstrated by real world experience from our global vehicle deployments it provides competitive whole of life operating costs when compared to traditional diesel vehicles," says Walker.

Interior of the SEA

"As demonstrated with vehicles already fitted with SEA-drive power-systems, the trucks are extremely quiet, perform well, while also providing a powerful yet smooth ride.
 
"They also have a flexible architecture which will future-proof their ownership.
 
"There are a range of advantages provided by the SEA-drive® power-system, including reduced service costs, with a routine four-hour inspection required every six months, and minimal wear on service brakes due to the use of regenerative braking.
 
"In Australia, carbon dioxide emissions from transport are now the second highest behind electricity generation, and are forecast to continue rising. With this announcement, the freight industry can now react – safe in the knowledge that their freight product offering will be enhanced in their clients’ eyes.
 
"Mass uptake of electric trucks in urban Australia has the potential to save up to millions of tonnes of CO2 each year, and provide up to 40,000 MWh of mobile battery storage, which is a potential future revenue stream."
 
The trucks are currently on sale from 15 fully accredited SEA Electric dealers nationwide that can also provide service and parts support, including any work carried out under the standard three-year warranty.
 
"Having a strong dealer network and nationwide support structure in place, we are excited for the range to hit Australia’s roads," says Walker.
 
SAE says roadside assistance will be available via industry leading provider NTI for the life of the warranty period.

SEA trucks are based on Hino 300 and 500 Series with several motor/battery combinations

Technical details of SEA trucks

SAE says its commencement of volume production of electric trucks in Australia continues to place the brand at the technical forefront for the industry.
 
By combining the proven SEA-drive power-system into a semi knocked down (SKD) chassis kit, for the first time the Australian transport industry has access to highly refined EV options, available through SEA Electric dealers.
 
The SEA 300 and SEA 500 badged trucks are derived from the Hino 500 Series wide cab GH, and Hino 300 Series 816 models, with each offering a range of motor, battery, chassis and axle configurations.
 
At the top of the range is the SEA 500-225, a 6x2 axle configuration, allowing for a maximum body length 9,240mm, and a GVM of 22,500kg.
 
The SEA 500-225 is available with a range-topping 280kWh battery.
 
Full details of the truck’s SEA-drive 280 power system will be released shortly.
 
The medium-duty SEA 500 is available in a pair of 4x2 configurations with a maximum body length of 8,930m and a GVM range between 14 to 17 tonnes.
 
Drivetrain options include the SEA-drive 120-35 and 180-35, which are both powered by an electric motor producing maximum torque output of 3,500Nm and maximum power value of 350kW.
 
The 120-35 has a battery capacity of 138kWh and an unladen range of 175km, while the 180-35 features a battery capacity of 220kWh, and an unladen range of 200km.
 
Meanwhile, the light-duty SEA 300 range is available in a variety of wheelbase, payload and body length configurations, all with a 4x2 axle format, and GVMs ranging from 4.5 to 8.5 tonnes.
 
"The SEA 300 range can be ‘specced’ up with one of three motors," says 
SEA Electric regional director for Oceania, Glen Walker.

"The 700Nm torque and 127kW variant powers the SEA-drive 70-7, combined with its 88kWh battery it is perfect for the car licence 4.5tonne GVM truck.
 
"Ideal motors for up to 8500kg GCM are the midrange 1000Nm of torque and 108kW of power for the SEA-drive 100-10.
 
If 1000Nm is not enough, SEA offers a 1500Nm of torque and 125kW of power from the SEA-drive 100-15.
 
"In addition to two motors, the SEA 300-85 is available with two different batteries, providing capacities of 103kWh through to 138kWh, which provide for unladen ranges from 210 to 300km."
 
All SEA-drive power-systems have an operating temperature range of -20°C to 50°C, with empty to full charging times ranging from approximately five hours for the SEA-drive 70, through to 12 hours for the SEA-drive 180 iterations.
 
The standard charging equipment for all SEA-drive models features a three-phase 32amp onboard charger with 5 pin plug, charging at up to 22kW/h. A key feature of this charging system is its access to the world’s largest charging network, namely truck workshop three-phase power.

SEA trucks being assembled in Melbourne

Optional DC to DC fast-charging increases the charging rate fourfold to 88kW/h.
 
The SEA-drive chassis layout features unique in-chassis mounted batteries, which improve battery protection and driving dynamics by centralising weight, while maintaining front to rear weight distribution for optimal foundation braking performance. When combined with the patented SEA-drive technology, these batteries produce class-leading ranges of up to 300km in some applications.
 
"We expect this figure to improve in the future as battery density continues to advance. This paves the way for the development of smaller, lighter and lower-cost batteries, or similar features to today’s batteries except with longer range. The innovative modularity of the SEA-drive power-system allows these future benefits to be accessible to early adopters." Walker says.
 
The Lithium-Ion Nickel Manganese Cobalt (LiNiMnCoO2) batteries are designed for 3,500 charge cycles, based on a full overnight charge, which, if applied five days per week, can result in optimum performance for ten years.
 
It is envisioned that after time the battery would be replaced (much like a diesel engine is currently rebuilt) with the old battery capable of being re-deployed in either large scale storage farms as a part of the power grid or allowing for the storage and personal use of energy generated from residential solar arrays.
 
One of the key features of the SEA-drive power-system is the use of regenerative braking, which not only tops up battery levels while the truck is in motion, but also saves significant wear on service brakes.
 
The SEA-drive power-system provides both active and passive stage braking regeneration.
 
The first stage is engaged by turning the electric motor into a generator when coasting without any pedals depressed, slowing the truck and charging the battery, in essence, similar to a diesel engine’s exhaust brake.
 
The second stage is engaged during the initial depression of the brake pedal, whereby additional negative torque is applied to the motor.
 
The traditional service brakes are then only utilised when the brake pedal is fully depressed as the vehicle stops.

SEA says that refrigeration, lifts, tilt trays etc. can be powered off the truck itself

Another significant capability of the SEA-drive power-system is the electrification of all body ancillaries, such as refrigeration units or hydraulic systems, including those required on a tilt tray, garbage truck or elevating work platform.
 
This electrification has also seen existing trucks retrofitted with a SEA-drive power-systems specified with standard 240V power points for work in the field.
 
SEA Electric trucks can also be configured with optional SEA-connect telematics, providing secure insight into vehicle and driver performance.

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