Producing cheaper, lighter electric cars means Australia can again be a competitive vehicle manufacturer, a leading British industrialist says.
Sanjeev Gupta, whose company, GFG Alliance, recently bought South Australia’s Whyalla’s steelworks, has committed to small-scale local production of electric cars.
“We will definitely in the next two or three years have a car in production in Australia,” Mr Gupta told the Australian Energy Storage Conference in Adelaide on Wednesday.
He said traditional car manufacturing could be disrupted by small-scale operations using technology inspired by Formula One racing.
The company aims to produce around 30,000 units annually, using lightweight composite panels, to be sold for around $20,000 to $30,000
“It’s a very different way of thinking about cars, it’s a much cheaper way of making cars, and you can make them in a much smaller volume,” he said.
The billionaire did not elaborate where the plant would be located but has previously earmarked South Australia or Victoria as options.
“Whether it’s here or in another part of the country is something to work through, as to what conditions are best for that production,” he said.
Mr Gupta said he was also committed to increasing his company’s renewable energy production in Australia to 10 gigawatts to support his local ventures.
He said batteries and solar combined had great potential to take pressure off the grid for both industry and households.
“These two solutions together will change the energy mix for sure for our generation and the next,” Mr Gupta told the conference.
The British industrialist purchased the former struggling Arrium business in 2017 pledging to invest $1 billion in modernising the plant.
His company also plans to build major battery storage facilities in Port Augusta and Whyalla.