Australian electric vehicle charging company Tritium will close the doors on its local factory before Christmas, leaving the jobs of up to 400 workers uncertain.
The troubled fast charging firm announced at Thursday’s annual general meeting it would shut its Murrarie, Brisbane factory on December 22 and consolidate manufacturing operations at its Tennessee base in the US.
The closure is a blow for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who visited the factory earlier this year to publicise it as a shining example of his advanced green manufacturing ambitions.
The company will keep a research and development business in Brisbane and has claimed only 75 workers will be laid off when the factory shuts on December 22, though it did not disclose if there will be further rounds of redundancies.
Tritium’s Nasdaq listed shares have plunged 90 per cent this year amid cost blowouts and competition from rival companies.
In a blow for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s green manufacturing ambitions, EV charging company Tritium will close its local factory due to high costs (pictured, visiting Tritium in March 2023)
The company will move all its manufacturing to its Tennessee base in the United States
In recent months, Tritium chief executive Jane Hunter has been lobbying state and federal governments for additional funding but was knocked back.
It was a similar case with agencies like the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and National Reconstruction Fund.
There has been recent talk Taiwanese giant Lite-On are interested in buying a stake in the company that could help get it back on track though it appears no details were revealed in the AGM.
According to rich-lister Brian Flannery who owns a 5 per cent stake in the company, management said they were talking to ‘several’ groups about a strategic partnership.
‘There has been a lot of hearsay about Lite-On but the company did not name anyone,’ Mr Flannery told The Australian.
He added the business ‘needs to work hard’ on reducing costs and ‘maybe pause research and development for a while’.
He also admitted Tritium could not make a profit manufacturing in Australia as labour and material costs were too high.
‘Manufacturing costs are generally lower in the US.’
Australia currently has about 3,700 EV charging stations across the country according to a report from the Electric Vehicle Council.
One Perth EV driver, Kristie Hannah, recently took to social media to share her experience driving her Tesla Model Y three hours to a wedding.
She said that while ‘generic’ chargers, such as those operated by RAC using Tritium technology, were cheaper they were often occupied or in need of maintenance, forcing her to use the more expensive Tesla branded stations.
One EV driver recently took to social media to explain that a charging station told her that her Tesla was charged but actually only had 11 per cent on the battery
Tritium was founded in 2001 by engineers David Finn, James Kennedy and Paul Sernia and launched on the Nasdaq two years ago with a strong valuation.
It has won business with the likes of BP, Shell and various governments to supply publicly accessible DC ultra fast charging stations.
However, the company has seen challenges in recent years such as the emergence of companies offering home-based charging systems and major competitor Tesla forming its own North American public charging network.