With the move to electrification increasing, Australian company Zero Automotive has produced an electric vehicle primarily for professional use.
The ‘ZED 70’ (Zero Emission Drive 70) is based on the proven LandCruiser 70 Series and replaces that model’s conventional 4.5-litre common rail turbo-diesel V8 engine with a permanent magnet electric motor.
Fuelled by ‘NMC’ lithium-ion batteries, the electric motor produces claimed continuous power of 75kW, with maximum power of 134kW and maximum torque of 700Nm. The 88kWh battery capacity delivers a claimed range of over 330km, with full recharge achievable in four hours.
The launch vehicle (pictured) used the LC79 dual cab chassis, but the electric drivetrain can be fitted to the single cab chassis, wagon and troop carrier variants of the LandCrusier 70 Series using Zero Automotive’s in-house driveline adapters.
Seamless regenerative braking is part of the fully engineered and ADR-compliant EV conversion, while additional power and range can be achieved through an available 115kWh battery upgrade. Options include GVM upgrades, body and tray modifications, a geofencing function with speed-limiting via GPS (above ground only) and other safety interlock systems, with a ‘fast charge’ 1-hour charging option to be offered in the future.
Developed in conjunction with partners including Defence Department supplier Albins Performance Transmissions, ROH Wheels and High Performance Diesel, the ZED70 is the first vehicle produced by Zero Automotive, but arrives backed by decades of experience. Based in Edwardstown, South Australia, Zero Automotive has previously developed engineering solutions in the 4x4 and motorsport fields, more recently transferring those skills to the requirements of the mining industry, and now, electric vehicles.
While the electric drivetrain and batteries add weight – an additional 216kg – both elements are mounted on additional subframes that Zero Automotive say actually increase the LandCruiser’s structural rigidity, while the single moving part in their electric motor reduces maintenance costs. The company claims the drivetrain can last over 1 million kilometres, while the batteries can withstand thousands of discharge/recharge cycles.
The choice of a LandCruiser 70 Series as the base for the ZED70 suits the vehicle’s primary application in the mining industry, with the zero emissions, zero noise and zero spark risk electric drivetrain offering obvious advantages in underground mining and other hazardous environments.
Beyond mining, Zero Automotive says the ZED70 has applications in the petrochemical and agricultural sectors, as well as meeting service and infrastructure requirements for local and state governments, along with the PR benefits that come from running “green” vehicles.
Speaking at the launch of the ZED70 this past October, Zero Automotive’s Tim Possingham said the feedback had been extremely positive: “We have been greatly encouraged by the response to our vehicle and in particular the quality of engineering within the vehicle.
“At present, the vehicle is undergoing trials with local government here in South Australia and we have some significant mining projects we are working on with Tier 1 mining companies.”
For further details, go to https://www.zeroautomotive.com.au/