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Affordable electric vehicles now in St Baker's investment sights

Business

A week after his $2 billion Tritium deal, Queensland businessman Trevor St Baker has moved to get a foothold in the electric vehicle market with an investment that may see more of the vehicles within reach of the average family budget.

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St Baker has made a $20 million investment in TrueGreen Mobility, which holds the licence to import the vehicles from China’s BYD and plans to sell the vehicles in Australia below $35,000.

The deal will also draw in St Baker’s Evie Networks, which provides charging outlets. Fleet owners would offered packages that include Tritium depot and public chargers on the Evie Network.

The BYD passenger vehicles will go on sale in August and be delivered from March 2022. The company already has 70 electric taxis being trialled in Australia to demonstrate the vehicle. Its electric buses have also been sold to the NSW Government.

Last week St Baker told In Queensland that unless Australia moved quickly on the transition to electric vehicles it would become the dumping ground for combustion engine cars that no one else in the world wanted.

St Baker was also involved a major deal last week to merge Tritium, a Brisbane company developing fast-charging battery technology in which he has a 26 per cent stake, with an American SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) that would give it a Nasdaq listing.

St Baker Innovation Fund said the $20 million investment would accelerate the importation of passenger vehicles into Australia from BYD, in which US investor Warren Buffet has a minor stake.

The St Baker fund will also get a seat on the board.

TrueGreen Mobility currently supplies electric buses to clients such as the NSW government and holds the rights to exclusively distribute BYD passenger and commercial vehicles in the Australasian market.

Fund chief executive Rodger Whitby said the investment in TrueGreen Mobility signified a pivotal point for electromobility in Australia, with affordable EVs and a massive rollout of ultrafast charging infrastructure being the recipe for rapid public uptake.

“The investment is the cornerstone to a much bolder plan for TrueGreen Mobility, with considerable further investment also going into expediting the growth of the Evie Network,” Whitby said.

“We have now reached the inflection point to confidently transition towards zero emission vehicles with TrueGreen Mobility’s competitively priced vehicles making clean transport more accessible to millions of Australians.

“Local EV uptake still lags significantly behind the global trend; however, whether for home or work, Australian drivers can now confidently plan for their next vehicle purchase to be electric.

“Our BYD EVs are now at price parity with combustion engines, charging infrastructure is in place so the time is right to hit the road.”

The investment in TrueGreen expands St Baker’s EV portfolio which also includes Tritium, Evie Networks the Australia-wide network of ultra-fast electric vehicle chargers, Novonix, a battery materials company servicing many of the leading EV battery manufacturers, New York based ride hail and EV charging hub operator Revel, and PureEVs an E-Trike operator in the Philippines.

TrueGreen Mobility chief executive Luke Todd said the St Baker fund’s investment was a strong vote of confidence in its future.

“The St Baker fund was an early investor in Tritium, which is now a global market leader in EV ultrafast chargers. I have no doubt they have picked another winner and the final piece of the puzzle for the rollout of EVs in Australia,” Todd said.

“We have been working for some time on our product development and now have a supply chain capable of manufacturing mass volumes of EVs for Australian fleets and consumers.

“The StBEIF is supporting the full supply chain with Evie Networks installing Tritium ultra-fast chargers at key transportation hubs across Australia and TrueGreen Mobility is providing a range of desirable, reliable and affordable electric vehicles.

“This is a strategic investment and strategic alliance of two Australian-owned businesses committed to building better and cleaner transportation that doesn’t cost the earth – literally.”

 

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