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Kiwi firm spearheading heavy fleet green transition

31 March 2024

Bay of Plenty-based company Heavy Vehicle Machinery Solutions (HVMS) is forging global partnerships to help drive decarbonisation efforts in New Zealand’s road transport industry. Formed in October 2022 through parent company East Coast Heavy Diesel (ECHD) in Whakatane, HVMS is on a mission to pioneer low carbon technology and convert existing diesel fleets with cutting-edge battery electric, hybrid fuel and hydrogen fuel cell systems.

Under the leadership of directors Scott Hale, Richard Gatward (both from ECHD) and business development manager Mark Irving, HVMS brings a wealth of expertise in the heavy vehicle domain. For over 15 years, ECHD has been a leader in providing mechanical, engineering and certification to many vehicle fleet operators across the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Recognising the urgency for skilled handling of battery and hydrogen electric drivetrain vehicles, HVMS has positioned itself to meet the evolving needs of operators transitioning to greener fleets. In a significant development, HVMS was awarded a conversion design contract by Thailand-based petroleum giant PTTEP in October last year.

PTTEP, a Fortune 500 company, has a fleet of around 3000 prime movers and tankers that move the crude oil and associated products throughout Thailand. The Scania P114GA (circa 2004) makes up much of its fleet. It is laying out plans to decarbonise and brought the Kiwi firm onboard to help make key first steps.

HVMS are currently finalising contract details for a prototype, with PTTEP to further convert a representative Scania based on the finalised full design conversion from diesel drivetrain to hydrogen fuel cell (FCEV). The Bay of Plenty firm has contracted fellow Kiwi company Global Bus Ventures (GBV), based in Rolleston, as a partner on the project, providing expertise on electrical design and integration.

HVMS and GBV will work collaboratively to deliver the completed FCEV truck conversion design for PTTEP by June this year, then commence the prototype soon after. Meanwhile, another global partnership has been formed with Advanced Electric Machines – a leading UK manufacturer of “rare-earth free” and recyclable electric motor systems.

These “fully recyclable” motors, which remove the need for rare-earth metals and copper in their design, are currently integrated into various electric vehicles, including UK electric truck startup Tevva.

AEM’s motors are also being used in development projects with several global vehicle manufacturers, such as Bentley, SAF-Holland, CNH Industrial and Asia Cab. The partnership with HVMS opens opportunities to expand AEM’s presence in Australasia and explore new markets.

HVMS business development manager Mark Irving says there is a “clear gap” in the electrification of heavy vehicles across the Australasian region and HVMS is working to address that. “Many OEMs globally are designing and at various stages of manufacture on either or both BEV (battery electric vehicle) and FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicles).

“These OEMs are generally not manufacturing vehicles in Australasia, with the exception of Hyzon in Melbourne and GBV in Rolleston, and are closer to larger and more affluent markets than those in our region.”

“HVMS recognises that in eight to 10 years, the flow of OEM equipment to this region of the world will occur at a more regular and cost-effective level, but solutions are still required in the interim,” he says. As well as full battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell conversions, partial (hybrid) conversions using diesel and hydrogen are also an option.

Irving says HVMS has recently acquired exclusive Australasian access to a European designed hybrid conversion system and is working currently with several fleet operators in New Zealand and Australia.

Source: transporttalk