EV plant proposed for former Holden factory in South Australia

Posted on 25 Jan 2018 by Michael Cruickshank

The South Australian government is reportedly working to turn the former Holden factory in South Australia into a plant used for the manufacturing of electric vehicles (EVs).

The last Holden car to be manufactured in Australia rolls of the production line. Image courtesy of Holden
The last Holden car to be manufactured in Australia rolled off the production line last year. Image courtesy of Holden.

According to reports by The Advertiser, the British industrialist Sanjeev Gupta, who heads GFG Alliance, has made an offer to buy assets from the closed Elizabeth factory located in state capital Adelaide. A public auction of these assets was due to begin shortly.

In a letter obtained by the publication, the South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis implored GM, the owner of the Holden site, to consider this sale to GFG Alliance.

“We are incredibly excited and supportive of the GFG Alliance’s bid and subsequent plans to ensure the continuation of our very proud history of automotive excellence and innovation in South Australia,” wrote Koutsantonis in the letter.

If the factory is indeed acquired by GFG Alliance, reports suggest that it will no longer be used to make traditionally fuelled vehicles, but rather would be retooled to produce electric cars.

The cars themselves that would be built in this factory would incorporate technology and expertise from another of GFG Alliance’s partner companies – Gordon Murray Design.

Should this occur, it would mark a return of car manufacturing to Australia, something which ended last year, after Holden followed Ford and Toyota in closing their local factories, primarily due to high cost.

Currently, however, both Holden and GFG Alliance have refused to comment on their plans, as well as any local politicians.

Gupta moves to save yet another factory

These latest reports are just the most recent of a wide range of purchases by Sanjeev Gupta and GFG Alliance which have rescued manufacturing plants in Australia and the UK.

In August last year, he bought the troubled Whyalla steelworks, in effect saving the town’s single largest industry. Then, he went on to buy local SA battery company Zen Energy and announced a major project to supply and store renewable energy in order to power the steelworks.

Meanwhile, in the UK, GFG Alliance has bought in excess of 20 steel, automobile and engineering plants that were slated for closure.