Transgrid electric ute gets thumbs up from workers

Transgrid-branded dual-cab electric ute in front of transmission tower
Image: Transgrid

Anthony Madani is a self-confessed ‘petrol head’ car enthusiast and collector and when he was asked to be part of Transgrid’s trial of an electric dual-cab ute he jumped at the chance.

As part of his job as a field coordinator with Transgrid for the past four months Anthony has been helping road test the transmission giant’s first electric ute the 2023 LDV eT60.

“The electric ute has been great, it is comfortable, and given it is the first generation of this particular make of vehicle it has been very impressive, and I think other manufacturers would be worried,” he said.

Related article: Transgrid trialling Australia’s first dual-cab electric ute

The father of two has been collecting cars since he was 18 and owns 24 vehicles including one of the last Falcons produced in Australia.

“I am a petrol head and love my petrol cars but I also accept times and technology are changing and it is exciting to be part of this trial and see the capabilities it will bring.

“I think of my daughter and what she will be driving in the future, you always want the safest car and some of the electric vehicles being released now have incredible safety features,” he said.

Anthony has been using his car experience to help fine-tune how Transgrid uses the ute and suggest improvements.

“One of the things we have done was to change out the tyres on the ute which has made it more efficient and smoother to drive and we’ve also added extra storage spaces for tools for when we need in the field.

“We have been getting more range than we expected, up to 400km between charges and that’s with a full family in the vehicle so that’s been a real highlight from the trial,” he said.

Transgrid fleet manager Ryan Thomas said the ongoing trial is helping iron out technical issues.

“This trial is providing us with valuable insights into how we can make the transition to an electric fleet as seamless as we can and identifying issues we need to resolve such as charging and towing requirements.

“So far the ute is living up to expectations and we’re focusing on operational requirements, getting it ready for work in field and set up to be functional so it can work on job sites.

“We have already taken the ute to Newcastle, Yass and Wagga Wagga and we have had no issues with charging or range so far and the feedback from our people has been really positive,” Mr Thomas said.

The electric ute trial is part of Transgrid’s commitment to reach net zero by 2040, including eliminating all emissions from the network’s passenger and commercial fleet by 2030.

Each year Transgrid’s fleet of 400 diesel commercial vehicles and 28 passenger vehicles collectively travel more than 14 million kilometres.

The LDV eT60 double-cab ute Transgrid is trialling has a 130kW/310Nm electric motor and 88.5kWh battery pack.

Related article: Transgrid powers home-grown transmission line workforce 

Transgrid expects electric utes will deliver operational savings for the network, including around a 50% reduction in fuel costs.

Anthony Madani said while there are still some issues to address the electric ute is the way of the future.

“We’re at the start of this journey now but as more manufacturers come in and more vehicles are released, we will see prices drop and competition increase as the technology improves and that can only be a good thing.”

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