The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (AAAA) and its Auto Innovation Centre (AIC) facility are gearing up for the electric vehicle (EV) revolution with the launch of a new initiative in collaboration with the Victorian Government’s ZEV Commercial Sector Innovation Fund.
As part of this collaboration, a Ford F-150 Lightning electric ute – the only commercially available model of its kind in Australia – and a Polestar 2 electric sedan have been acquired for training and product development opportunities.
The primary objective of this joint campaign is to support the aftermarket industry during the transition to EVs by providing training and product development opportunities. Additionally, it aims to encourage the adoption of EVs in Victorian fleets.
AAAA CEO Stuart Charity said it was “vital that the aftermarket is prepared and equipped to service, repair, and modify EVs for commercial use”.
“These vehicles will help us train technicians and guide our strategy and communications surrounding the coming EV transition.”
Known for providing automotive scan data and testing services to aftermarket product developers, the AIC is well positioned to execute the AAAA’s EV strategy and help facilitate the industry’s transition.
AIC managing director Luke Truskinger said growing demand for EVs is leading to a ramp-up in requirements for training, modifications and testing.
“Our new vehicles will help us understand unique EV requirements to support technicians and aftermarket developers,” he explained.
The AIC plans to conduct a series of tests and modifications on the EVs to evaluate their suitability for various markets and applications.
“Our F-150 Lightning is one of the few full-sized 4WD EVs in the world and is the long-range dual motor variant with an optional towing pack,” said Mr Truskinger.
“The Polestar 2 is a performance long-range dual motor variant and is a great example of a popular passenger EV in Australia.”
Apart from serving as training tools, these EVs will also provide industry access opportunities. Victorian companies involved in fleet vehicle manufacturing and usage within the state can take advantage of special subsidised access to the vehicles.
Mr Truskinger encouraged interested parties to reach out, saying the AIC was “looking for suppliers and modifiers that want to get their hands on these cars”.
“If you want access to these vehicles to boost knowledge, or training, or for testing or product development, please contact us to have a chat.”
Mr Charity highlighted the importance of ensuring repair technicians are adequately trained and qualified to work on EVs safely. The AAAA also aims to enhance industry understanding of EV components, including batteries, motors, and advanced safety features.
Early access to data and diagnostics for EVs can facilitate the repair industry’s preparedness for future EV rollouts.
The joint campaign also seeks to gather feedback from the industry to understand specific needs related to EVs. By understanding the requirements of aftermarket manufacturers and developers, the AIC hopes to support the development of products tailored to the new generation of EVs.
The AAAA and AIC are actively encouraging industry members to explore training opportunities and seek additional information to aid the repair industry in taking proactive steps to embrace the future of automotive technology and ensure its readiness to serve the growing EV market.