BTS21 EV: JAC pursues the electric dream

By: Rob McKay

Part 2 – Chinese light-duty offering looks to open new chapter

BTS21 EV: JAC pursues the electric dream
Jason Pecotic and with the JAC N55EV

In this four part examination, we look at the upstart electric vehicle (EV) challengers to the established commercial vehicle manufacturers, who exhibited at this year’s Brisbane Truck Show (BTS).

The week before the show, JAC Motors MD Jason Pecotic was facing a very modest truck presence indeed.

Having worked to resurrect his JAC pursuit over the past few years, Pecotic was facing a spot by the foyer window with a dearth of metal on display.

"We’ve had an interesting voyage," he says.

"We’ve gone from the foyer to the main stand here in a matter of 14 days.

"And we’ve gone from no truck last Thursday to the Department of Infrastructure giving us approval on the Friday after an impassioned plea by myself. And then we had the truck delivered Friday at lunchtime.

"We detailed it on the Saturday and we had it ready by bump-in on the Monday."

He paid tribute to organisers HVIA for recognising the value of having another electric truck in main space was a desirable outcome.

"New energy, zero emissions being the future, they really wanted to make sure that we were showcased here," Pecotic says.

"We’ve got to thank the organisers."

He is on record as acknowledging the first coming of the Chinese-built JAC, in diesel form, into the country was with an inferior light-duty vehicle. But, refusing to be deterred, he followed the JAC’s EV development for five years before looking to bring that version to these shores.

Read about Janus Electric’s presence at the show, here

That determination has been bolstered by sales internationally, notably in Brazil for DHL’s Pepsico distribution task. And the vehicle itself is in full production rather than being in prototype form.

Pecotic is refreshingly realistic about his latest tilt at the market but believes the EV’s time has come.

"We are investing in this because we believe this is the future, in that small truck segment, for delivery," he says.

"We don’t answer every question, we have a specific market that we are chasing."

The N55EV model on display is Australian Design Rules-approved, he notes, and is to order 10 more by mid-year with an arrival time in the third quarter and full production is eyed for some time after that. In the meantime, a dealer network is the next big domestic task.

By the time of the next show, when normal BTS service is likely to resume with increased competition for space, JAC will look to expand its presence.

"We plan to be here, with a few more models, too," Pecotic says.

"There is a good future with a roll-out of JAC products [to come].

"We hope to be enjoying that journey."

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