The Holden Commodore is famous the world over for its wild HSV variants, but right around the time the Australian car market took a turn for the worse, the rear-drive sedan was about to get a whole new environmentally friendly attitude. According to Go Auto Australia, a fully electric Commodore was in the works and all but ready for road use before companies collaborating on the project pulled out.
A joint venture between several companies was established to work on the project, but all partnerships fell apart when the final two participating companies, Bosch Australia and Air International, decided to call it quits after GM announced it would cease production operations in the country. The project was called EV Engineering and was the same operation which built a record-setting Commodore that managed to travel on electric power alone for 24 hours straight, covering 1,172 miles in the process.
“EV Engineering got really, really close to actually having a product-ready device,” said Chief Technology Officer David Jahshan of Axiflux, an electric motor development company involved in EV Engineering. “And it’s really sad that the Australian car industry took a turn for the worst at that particular time. It all comes down to timing, doesn’t it?”
The first company to call it quits was Futuris, then Better Place shut down and GE Finance decided to stop funding the project, Jahshan explained. In December, GM turned Holden into solely an import brand which led to the departure of Bosch and Air International. Now Jahshan’s company, Axiflux, has ended up with the remaining assets from EV Engineering, which was a not-for-profit project. The company is looking for partners or backing to continue their project, but that could be difficult given the shape of the Australian car industry.
“Where the biggest challenge is right now is that Australia is backing away from the automotive industry, and finding the right partner has just become a lot harder because there is no local partner,” Jahshan explained.
Jahshan noted the engineering expertise and knowledge gained from EV Engineering is “absolutely” worth it, even if it never materializes into an actual consumer product.