Innovations from Brazil at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hanover: A new powertrain and a new battery pack provide more power for the e-Delivery, the Volkswagen Group’s electric truck. These features were developed by the TRATON GROUP, which includes Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus. The Brazilian engineers have also designed a modular configuration which will cover most of Volkswagen’s platforms and thus enable the flexible adaptation of electric commercial vehicles to different markets. The model is in the test phase and is to go into production by 2020.
e-Delivery with a powerful drive
“With dimensions suitable for use in urban areas, as well as functions for convenience, connectivity, safety, low operating costs and energy efficiency, our e-Delivery helps to make the concept of efficient and intelligent cities with rational and productive freight transport a reality,” says Roberto Cortes, Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus, which is part of the TRATON GROUP. The Brazilians have developed a new powertrain and battery pack for the electric truck. Among other things, this increases the range of the e-Delivery to more than 200 kilometers. The new settings for the battery banks, which share lithium-ion-nickel-manganese-cobalt cells (NMC), ensure high performance. The battery also has a quick-charging mode which reaches 30 percent capacity in 15 minutes and 100 percent in three hours. Thanks to the new powertrain, the e-Delivery achieves an output of up to 260 kilowatts with a maximum torque of 2,150 newtonmeters.
Flexible and intelligent
Also new is the truck’s modular configuration, which makes flexible assembly possible and provides more space for batteries. The vehicle is divided into three parts: a front module with the cabin and additional functions, a middle module with the batteries, and the rear module with the powertrain. The modules are independent of each other, so that the various components and designs can be easily combined for other electric vehicles as well.
The model presented at the IAA has also been improved with respect to its intelligent systems. Pneumatic suspension and a smart payload reading system, for example, synchronize the load and electricity consumption in the eco-drive mode. The brake has three regeneration stages. This enables up to 30 percent of the power to be recuperated during braking. This energy is used to charge the battery. The regenerative brake engages before the pneumatic brake. The entire system can be adjusted according to the charging status or the driver’s preferences. Systems such as the air compressors, air conditioning, steering and water pump are controlled independently of each other, thus optimizing their electricity consumption. Axles, chassis, wheels and tires retain their traditional features and their robustness in the new Delivery line. They share platform components with the diesel vehicle family. Synergies and scaling can therefore reduce costs.
Volksbus e-Flex: Versatile drive
The Volksbus e-Flex is the second important innovation by Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus at the IAA. For this, the automotive manufacturer has developed a flexible architecture for the electrification of this vehicle. The concept can be applied to any of the brand’s vehicles. The special feature: All the variants of electric mobility can be found in a single model. It works with battery electric vehicles (BEV), hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), and range extended electric vehicles (REEV). The performance is the same, regardless of how the batteries are charged.
The batteries developed by the TRATON GROUP can be charged using external chargers or a generator in the vehicle. The latter is one of the greatest innovations of the new e-solution. The generator is driven by one of the most powerful engines in Brazil, the Volkswagen 1.4 TSI Flex, which is currently used in the Golf. This engine can be run on gasoline or ethanol, and a version for natural gas or biomethane (1.4 TGI) is also available.
The generator and engine set starts automatically by means of intelligent vehicle electronics as soon as the pre-programmed battery charging level is detected. The e-Flex technology reduces the need for charging infrastructure, which will accelerate the acceptance of electric vehicles.
This flexibility makes it possible to adapt the configuration of the Volksbus e-Flex to conditions in different countries. In Brazil, for example, the use of ethanol in the engine-generator set promotes the continuous spread of this virtually CO2-neutral biological fuel. The emissions of NOx emissions and local particulate materials are thus reduced by more than 90 percent. In other Latin American countries, many of which tend to rely on natural gas, the Volksbus e-Flex allows operation with the 1.4 TGI version of the engine. This facilitates the gradual introduction of clean technologies for commercial vehicles.