Five minutes with Tony Fairweather, SEA Electric

EV jobs, SEA
Image: SEA Electric
Tony Fairweather

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at SEA Electric.

I’m the founder and group managing director of SEA Electric. I’m a mechanical engineer with dual masters degrees in business. I have extensive experience in transport that I gained before pursing an electric commercial vehicle opportunity that lead to the creation of SEA Electric.

SEA is about to open a manufacturing facility in the Latrobe Valley, what does this mean for SEA and the Australian EV industry?

The establishment of a second Victorian assembly facility in the Latrobe Valley is a reflection on the growth that we anticipate within the EV segment. Secondly, it provides further opportunities for suppliers to develop products for this segment, for both domestic supply and export.

How many SEA vehicles are out there on the roads? And how do you envisage that to increase?

There are around 100 units (either built or on order) across six countries. Now that the technology is proven and pricing is improving, we forecast approximately a 500 per cent year-on-year growth.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the adoption of EVs in Australia?

In our segment it’s simply education and information. The application is well suited. The economics make sense. The technology exceeds expectations. In other automotive segments it’s a combination of government support and charging technology developments/infrastructure.

What’s next for the company?

Globalise. Our five SEA-Drive models will soon become seven, as battery density and cost improvements allow us to expand into a greater range of delivery and distribution vehicles. With business units now established in the US and Europe, and an ASEAN office soon to open, we forecast our licence model will facilitate substantial growth in these regions throughout 2019 and into 2020.