Electric cars and insecticides given CSIRO boost

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Tomcar aims to be Australia's first electric vehicle manufacturer Tomcar aims to be Australia's first electric vehicle manufacturer Tomcar aims to be Australia's first electric vehicle manufacturer

CSIRO gives electric cars and insecticides a funding boost

The CSIRO has given a helping hand to companies developing an electric vehicle and a disruptive new class of insecticides as part of a scheme offering funding and expertise to innovative small businesses.

The scheme, which offers dollar-matched funding for up to $50,000, has already helped out six Aussie start-ups with ambitious goals.

One of the latest start-ups to be helped is Tomcar Australia, a Victorian vehicle manufacturer that is using the funds and CSIRO expertise to conduct feasibility research into electrification of its off-road vehicles.

The CSIRO says that the company will be able build on the scientific body’s expertise with electric motors to provide integrated systems solutions that are tailor-made for Tomcar’s vehicles.

Following the feasibility testing, Tomcar plans to continue its collaboration with the CSIRO to develop prototype and production models of their vehicles. Its ultimate goal is to be Australia’s first electric vehicle manufacturer.

"We pride ourselves on being a disruptive vehicle manufacturer, and being able to partner with Australia’s research institutes to access engineering capabilities and expertise that we wouldn’t normally have access to is what’s helping us achieve that," Tomcar Australia co-founder and CEO David Brim says.

"CSIRO's Kick-Start program has taken away the financial burdens that would have prohibited us from taking this next step."

Another recipient of the funding is Bio-Gene, an Australian start-up that is developing new types of synthetic insecticides. The start-up has received the $50,000 dollar-matched funding from the CSIRO and will also have access to the CSIRO’s proprietary chemistry expertise and equipment.

The co-investment will help Bio-Genes’ development of chemically synthesised flavocide, which aims to fix the global problem of insecticide resistance in the areas of crop protection and animal and public health.

"The experience, expertise and commercial knowledge of CSIRO in new chemistry manufacturing processes is world-class," Bio-Gene CEO Robert Klupacs says.

"Being able to access it through this unique collaborative model is a major competitive advantage and one which we expect will greatly accelerate or product development activities."

CSIRO director of manufacturing Keith McLean says that Australian start-ups and small enterprises are critical to driving Australia’s innovation output.

"CSIRO is committed to supporting them by providing access to our research expertise, capabilities and facilities," McLean says. "Kick-Start is just the beginning of what we hope to be long-standing collaborations and strategic partnerships."

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