- Automotive industry faced challenging times, owing to disrupted supply chain and declined demand, given the ongoing virus crisis, but the industry is still busy working on grand plans.
- H2X, an Australian start-up, plans to roll out hydrogen-powered vehicles with the main attraction being its SUV named Snowy. H2X intends to manufacture sustainable vehicles from renewable and biocomposite body materials.
- Society of Automotive Engineers Australasia (SAE-A) has proposed future police cars to be electric and autonomous.
- FCAI has announced a slight increase in new vehicle sales in June, since the beginning of the pandemic crisis.
Similar to several other sectors, the global automotive industry was also hit hard by the Global Virus Crisis (GVC). Along with disruption in the supply chain, demand had also declined in the industry, driven by COVID-19-led restrictions. However, the gloomy conditions have not stopped the sector from being promising with grand plans.
Let's dive deep into a few of the recent developments in the Australian automotive industry.
H2X, A Startup Focused on Manufacturing Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles
New South Wales-based independent, privately funded company, named H2X Australia wants to rev up the automotive industry in Australia, with its focus on developing and manufacturing a range of zero-emission vehicles.
With its target of achieving a world-leading position in the hydrogen energy space by 2024, H2X intends to put together a full line of hydrogen-powered vehicles in the upcoming period. The Company, which was launched during the last month, has a group of passionate and highly experienced automotive designers, marketers, and technologists.
H2X intends to manufacture sustainable vehicles from renewable and biocomposite body materials while harnessing the most efficient and effective technologies. It plans to employ a hybrid power system that uses ultracapacitor technology to maximise energy efficiency.
The Company has unveiled the prototype images of a hydrogen fuel cell / battery electric super hybrid, dubbed Snowy. The Company plans to launch the SUV in 2022, which would give the flexibility of Electric Plug-in and Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology, enabling clean motoring.
Future Police Cars Could Be High-Tech Electric, Autonomous Vehicles
In future, you might see the emergency vehicles that include police cars and ambulances as being electric, and autonomous.
The Society of Automotive Engineers Australasia (SAE-A), a not-for-profit membership organisation for mobility focused engineers, has proposed a new car that would be modular, composite, electric, and autonomous. The proposal majorly focuses on police and emergency vehicles.
According to the organisation’s Chairman and CEO Adrian Feeney, the pandemic highlighted the significance of car manufacturing, and the car that the organisation is proposing would be unique and powered by the engineering and manufacturing strength of the country. By making a car that is not made in any other nation till now could energise the domestic automotive industry. In Australia, domestic vehicle manufacturing was suspended in the year 2017, consequently, vehicles sold in the country are now imported.
SAE-A intends to produce the vehicle in medium volumes, considering that the country has always outshined in the area.
Slight Increase Reported in New Vehicle Sales in June
The industry body Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has announced an uptick in the sales of new vehicles during the last month, June 2020. Though the total number of vehicles sold represent a decline of 6.4 per cent over the same month last year, it is the best result since the pandemic crisis. In June 2020, total vehicle sales stood at 110,234 units.
Since the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, vehicle sales have moved down in the country. In March 2020, sales were down by 17.9 per cent, while in April and May, sales went down by 48.5 and 35.3 per cent, respectively. The difference between sales volume in June and previous few months clearly highlights some recovery in the automotive market, and it seems the worst is over for the industry.
One of the major factors that led to this improvement was the reopening of few state economies, which increased the traffic through dealerships. To add to the sales is the fact that traditionally June is a solid month for new vehicle sales due to the end of financial year campaigns. Associated government initiatives, like stimulus packages also aided the industry.
Brand-wise sales were:
- Toyota was the best-selling brand in June, with 22,867 units sold.
- Mazda was on the second number, with total sales volume noted at 9,420.
- Hyundai sales volume stood at 7,737.
- Ford sales were 7,624 units.
- Mitsubishi sales were noted at 7,419 vehicles.
Top-selling vehicles in June in the Australian market:
- Toyota Hi-Lux with 6,537 sales, up 21.1 per cent on June 2019.
- Ford Ranger with 5,329 units sold, representing an increase of 9.9 per cent from the same period a year ago.
- Toyota Corolla with 3,008 units sold, down 4.1 per cent year-on-year.
- Toyota Landcruiser with 2,909 sales, up 23.3 per cent on June 2019.
- Mitsubishi Triton with 2,721 sales, representing a year-on-year increase of 1.0 per cent.
Government Support to the Australian Automotive Industry
Government has rolled out the Automotive Transformation Scheme (ATS) to support the industry, with financial aid to encourage competitive investment, modernisation, and economic sustainability.
The scheme covers 50 per cent of eligible investment in R&D and up to 15 per cent of the value of eligible investment in plant and equipment. Activities concerning the manufacturing of motor vehicles, engines and engine components could also receive financial assistance.
The ATS has capped support of AUD 1 billion from 2016 to 2020. If we talk about yearly funding allocation, 55 per cent would be available for motor vehicle producers (MVPs) and the remaining 45 per cent for non-MVPs.
There is a growing worldwide demand for vehicles with advanced engines of an environmentally friendly nature. Moreover, factors like changing consumer behaviour, industry restructuring, financial pressures, and varying fuel prices are transforming the automotive industry.
There are challenges, but the industry is filled with highly skilled and passionate professionals. They always come up with new technology and designs to shape the future of the automotive world. These are a few developments among many others, and automotive enthusiasts can't wait for enough to see these vehicles in real.
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