A statement from the University said the German- and Taiwanese-backed ACE-EV had launched a small, modern electric van in Australia and was intent on boosting local content in both design and manufacture.
Professor John Spoehr, the director of Flinders University’s Australian Industrial Transformation Institute, said this was an important step in the revival of Australia's automotive industry.
"The MoU seeks to harness Flinders’ R&D expertise in support of the manufacture of this EV under licence here in Australia," he said.
The electric van made by ACE. Supplied
“In Australia’s case, this is a phoenix prospect, where a new era of automotive technology could rise from the ashes of the former industry and re-establish a fresh generation of evolved electric vehicles in Australia.
“Flinders will bring its research expertise to a range of potential applications, from 3D manufacturing of components and development of futuristic composite materials to onboard vehicles systems and advanced i4.0 manufacturing assembly processes."
Professor Spoehr said the van was made of composite materials which meant it was lightweight and efficient.
"It’s essentially stuck together with space age adhesives rather than the traditional nuts, bolts and rivets. And being electric is energy efficient, especially if recharged with renewables. Fewer moving parts mean less maintenance too," he pointed out.
“Flinders’ Tonsley Manufacturing Innovation Hub is ideally placed for R&D support to develop advanced manufacturing assembly processes, like collaborative robots."
ACE-EV Group managing director Greg McGarvie said: “We are focused on building and extending the nation’s EV capability so that Australia can take a leading role in the global transition to low emission transport and create jobs for the future.
“This international agreement not only unites R&D facilities in Stuttgart and Ningbo with Flinders University, but now allows our Adelaide-based company ACE Electric Vehicle to set up a specialist design studio for Composite Electric Vehicles.
“It will ensure Australia accelerates opportunities in electric vehicle and charging equipment assembly, component manufacture, design, engineering, and research. As a result, South Australia will soon have a significant R&D centre at Tonsley Innovation District sharing advanced technology research with ACE-EV Groups partners in Stuttgart and Ningbo."