Only a year after Australia ends mainstream vehicle production, a startup company plans to build the country’s first production electric vehicle with a launch date aimed for 2018.

Tomcar Australia is the beneficiary of a new funding scheme that helps small businesses access the research expertise and capabilities of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

CSIRO Kick-Start is an initiative that offers dollar-matched funding of up to A$50,000 ($38,280) for research projects for startups and small businesses determined to become Australian success stories.

Tomcar is using the funding for feasibility research into the electrification of its modified off-grid, off-road vehicles with CSIRO’s manufacturing team. The work will be integrated into Tomcar’s vehicles, using CSIRO’s electric-motors expertise.

Following feasibility testing, Tomcar plans to continue the collaboration with CSIRO in prototype development.

Tomcar co-founder and CEO David Brim says full production of Australia’s first EV is forecast for a 2018 launch.

“We pride ourselves on being a disruptive vehicle manufacturer, and being able to partner with Australia’s research institutes to access engineering capabilities and expertise that we wouldn't normally have access to is what’s helping us achieve that,” Brim says in a statement.

“CSIRO’s Kick-Start program has taken away the financial burdens that would have prohibited us from taking this next step.”

CSIRO Manufacturing Director Keith McLean says startups and small- to medium-sized enterprises are critical in driving Australian innovation.

“CSIRO is committed to supporting them by providing access to our research expertise, capabilities and facilities,” McLean says.

The CSIRO Kick-Start initiative offers funding and linkage solutions to all Australian businesses with a turnover up to $A100 million ($76.6 million) to undertake research projects that will help their businesses develop and grow.