Zero Automotive and its electric ute

By: Tristan Tancredi

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Australian company Zero Automotive has officially launched its ZED70 all-electric ute

The ZED70 is based on the venerable Toyota 79 Series LandCruiser
The ZED70 is based on the venerable Toyota 79 Series LandCruiser

The ZED70 – an acronym for Zero Emission Drive 70 – runs a 100 per cent electric drivetrain that utilises a 700Nm electric ‘permanent magnet’ motor powered by a bank of lithium-ion batteries with a total capacity of 88kWh – although a battery capacity upgrade to 115kWh is available.

Regenerative braking is utilised, and the battery life cycle is listed at more than 10 years.

Zero Automotive claims a theoretical range of up to 350km, with a four-hour charge time. However, the Australian company says a one-hour full charge option will also be available shortly.

To protect all the important bits, battery and motor subframes have been strengthened and are now more "structurally rigid", while the batteries are housed in robust 3mm-thick boxes.

Zero Automotive’s Tim Possingham says the ZED70 is ADR compliant and road legal and has been specifically designed for the mining, petrochemical, agricultural and government sectors.

Possingham explains that the most popular choice – 88kWh battery, dual-cab configuration, carpet trim and alloy wheels – is priced close to $200,000.

He adds that farmers, in particular, are showing strong interest in the vehicle, especially those with solar-charging facilities.

There are a number of benefits to ditching diesel and opting for electricity: no fumes (ideal for national parks), no sparks or risk of backfire, it cleans diesel particulates in confined spaces (mines), and it helps to meet reduced corporate emissions targets – "plus it’s completely silent and unbelievably smooth to drive", adds Possingham.

A few other clever, modern touches include more control via GPS-operated speed limiting (ideal for mining sites), and cameras facing the driver can modulate vehicle dynamics – for example, if the camera notices the driver staring out the side window, it will drop the speed.

A number of options are available including full vehicle telematics, mine-compliance upgrades, geo-fencing, GVM upgrades, and body and tray upgrades.

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