More electricity-powered Holden cars could be made in the near future should a deal between GM Holden and EV Engineering pushes through, reports said.
A $70-million electric car program is reportedly in the works, the Australian Financial Review (AFR) said on Tuesday, which could lead to the assembly of 126 units of Commodore, one of Australia's most popular vehicles.
In a statement, however, Holden has indicated that nothing concrete was yet finalised between the carmaker and EV Engineering, which AFR said was previously responsible for converting seven conventional Commodores into battery-operated vehicles.
"We continue to be supportive of the program and we'll certainly review any proposed next steps but in terms of pressing the button so to speak on Stage 2 that's something that would still need to be heavily reviewed and we can't really comment beyond that," ABC reported Holden spokesman Sean Poppit as saying.
It is understood too that the federal government would be partly involved in the project that players hoped would provide some leg of recovery to the struggling local automotive industry.
Some $15 million in taxpayers' money would be asked from the government, AFR said on its report, with the amount, the publication added, wholly based on the project proposal that EV Engineering has submitted.
Similar to Holden, federal authorities have opted to remain largely silent on the matter though Industry Minister Greg Combet has allowed in an interview with AFR that "the government welcomes proposals to bring innovative new technologies into the automotive industry including technologies with the potential to deliver environmental benefits."
EV Engineering chairman Rob McEniry has labelled the future collaboration between Holden and his firm as "a very, very significant next step," for Australian car makers.
The project, he added, would be easily implemented once approved as the electric-powered vehicles "would be built on the assembly line and meet all compliance requirements so they could be driven by anyone."
Mr McEniry also told AFR that the new electric cars could also be exported, possibly in the U.S. market where the regular Commodore is being shipped for use as police cars by law enforcement agencies.
But aside from that information, the EV Engineering boss has begged off in providing further details concerning the negotiations between his company and GM Holden.
"The negotiations are at their final stage and reasonably delicate, so I can't say too much," Mr McEniry told AFR.
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