Warwick University develops electric vehicle concept based on Renault Twizy

An electric vehicle concept for the urban delivery market has been developed by design company Astheimer and WMG, Warwick University’s R&D department.

Named the Deliver-E, the vehicle is based on a Renault Twizy platform, is fitted with a 48V 6.5kWh battery system with a peak power of 36kW, and has an open-platform vehicle control system with a touchscreen interface.

The battery system is the first module produced by WMG’s new automated battery production line for electric vehicles, developed as part of the Automated Module-to-pack Pilot Line for Industrial Innovation project, which has created a UK supply chain for hybrid and electric vehicle battery packs.

Astheimer developed the WMG concept, enlarging the vehicle’s rear storage area for three online delivery baskets. It also added new body panels to the Deliver-E and fitted it with programmable LED pixel strips, which can change colour for brake and indicator lights.

Astheimer founder and creative director Carsten Astheimer said: “The Deliver-E is the result of an intensive 10-week collaborative project between Astheimer and WMG to design and build an electric delivery vehicle prototype. This unique collaboration showcases the design and prototyping capabilities of Astheimer.

“We are working on several projects at the forefront of electric transportation and autonomous technology, anticipating the future of mobility, which will be dominated by electric vehicles as emission controls tighten and on-line acquisitions increase.”

Professor Dave Greenwood of WMG, said “It’s great to be able to showcase some of the technologies that we’re working on in a real driveable vehicle – this really helps us bring home the benefits of the technologies we develop at WMG, and helps industry see how they may adopt them.”

ULEMCo develops zero-emission fuel cell for Nissan van

ULMECO fuel cell for Nissan

Hydrogen engine retrofit company ULEMCo has developed a zero-emission fuel cell unit, which can be fitted to Nissan’s standard electric e-NV200 van to provide additional power.

ULEMCo is set to launch a fuel cell-based unit that will extend vehicle range to more than 150 miles when fully laden.

Using a 12kW fuel cell and 1.6 kg/day on-board hydrogen storage capability, the van will have almost twice the range of the standard e-NV200, measured to New European Driving Cycle standards, without sacrificing load space capacity.

ULEMCo’s fuel cell RX power module will be roof mounted, and provide motive power via the battery to support the drive load requirements for the base van.

ULEMCo CEO Amanda Lyne said: “We are excited to have completed our integration study for a zero-emission FC extended van. This UK-engineered solution will meet the need for a practical small van urban delivery operation.”

ULEMCo added the development was significant since the fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) is eligible for the Office for Low Emission Vehicles’s (OLEV) support scheme.

The OLEV Hydrogen for Transport Programme was launched last week to provide up to £23m of grant funding until 2020 to support the growth of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, alongside the deployment of new vehicles via an open competition for both Hydrogen Refuelling Stations and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Ford and Deutsche Post DHL present first StreetScooter Work XL

Deutsche Post DHL Group and Ford have revealed the first of their joint vehicle, the StreetScooter Work XL electric delivery van.

The logistics giant announced its partnership with the manufacturer in June, scaling up DHL subsidiary StreetScooter’s own electric vehicles.

The StreetScooter Work XL, unveiled today in Cologne, is built on a Ford Transit chassis.

The patnership plans to have built 150 of the van by the end of the year, and 2,500 by the end of 2018.

The fully-electric vehicles will be used on urban parcel delivery operations with Deutsche Post DHL, although the Work XL is also available to third party customers.

The new van has a load volume of 20m3, which can store more than 200 parcels. The battery has a range of 80-200km.

Steven Armstrong, Ford’s group vice president and president of Europe, Middle East & Africa, said:

“We’re really proud of this ambitious project, and of the strong partnership we’ve developed with Deutsche Post DHL Group and StreetScooter.

“This joint project will be Europe’s largest manufacturer of emission-free, medium-sized e-vans, and it doesn’t come a moment too soon. Buses, cars, and of course, delivery vans play vital roles in our daily lives, but we have to find a way to make them cleaner. This project is a great step along this path.”

Industry reacts to driving licence reform plans for clean van technology

A proposal to allow category B (car) driving licence holders to drive heavier vans, provided they run on an alternative fuel, has been welcomed by Gasrec.

The fuel supplier last year pushed the DfT to consider an additional 1-tonne allowance on the category B driving licence for drivers of low-emission vans, after the DfT revealed plans to allow an additional tonne of weight to accommodate alternative fuel technology.

Alternative fuel equipment is sometimes heavier than conventional diesel vehicle technology, and the plans will allow such vehicles to carry the same payload as a diesel van.

Gasrec CEO Rob Wood said: “Gasrec is pleased that the government is planning to remove barriers that are preventing the wider use of alternative-fuelled vehicles.

“The current driving licensing regime reduces the driver pool available for alternative-fuelled light goods vehicles as they often marginally exceed the 3.5 tonne licence limit for Category B licence holders. This places a cost and operational burden on the adoption of new technology despite the wide availability of suitable vehicles.

He added: “These vehicles have the potential to make a significant contribution to improving air quality in our urban areas and we fully support the introduction of an appropriate licence derogation to remove this adoption hurdle.”

However, van leasing provider Arval questioned whether it would place more responsibility on van drivers and operators.

“The question facing fleets is whether they feel it is responsible to place drivers with standard car licences into a vehicle with a mass that has previously been seen as requiring specialised training, and into something that is three-quarters of a tonne heavier, and twice as heavy as the largest cars,” said Arval LCV consultant Eddie Parker.

“Across the fleet sector, in recent years, the discussion has tended to be about whether the driving standards for larger CVs should be applied to smaller vehicles. This new proposal moves things in the opposite direction.”

In order to relax driver licensing rules, the UK would need to seek a temporary derogation from the EU Third Driving Licence Directive. Some EU states have already done this to allow category B licence holders to drive heavier vans.

LoCity invites freight operators to a free roadshow on gas-powered CVs

Operators considering using gas-powered vans or HGVs can find out all they need to know at the latest LoCity roadshow taking place on Thursday 21 September at Twickenham Stoop Stadium.

Free to attend, the roadshow is the second in a series of four events created for the freight industry to help operators understand how alternative fuels could be a viable choice today for their fleets.

It follows a successful event last month on electric commercial vehicles.

The gas roadshow will bring together operators of gas CVs, infrastructure providers and technology experts to provide practical advice on gas as an alternative to diesel.

Delegates will explore a line-up of the latest gas-powered vehicles on the market and be able to interact directly with manufacturers at the event.

Demand for the roadshows has been very high, so please do register your interest today if you would be interested in securing a place at locityroadshows.co.uk

LoCity is a an industry-led programme, supported by TfL, to help the freight sector make the switch to alternative fuels ahead of the capital’s pending Ultra Low Emission Zone rollout in 2020.

Major hauliers to trial gas-powered HGVs in UK’s largest biomethane fuel trial

Six major hauliers will be testing the performance of 81 dedicated gas-powered HGVs in the UK’s largest-ever trial of biomethane-fuelled trucks.

The project forms part of the government’s £20m Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial launched in January, which aims to demonstrate cleaner HGV technology emerging in the UK market.

A consortium, led by industrial gas supplier Air Liquide, includes operators Kuehne + Nagel, Asda, Wincanton, Brit European, Howard Tenens and Great Bear.

They will trial five trucks, in 10 different vehicle configurations, ranging from 12 to 44 tonnes to gather data on performance, fuel efficiency, reliability and cost.

The consortium will also test the effectiveness of a new cryogenic trailer refrigeration technology: a liquid nitrogen cooling system aims to reduce the energy demands of refrigeration units, further reducing HGVs’ CO2 and air quality emissions.

Steve Carroll, head of transport at Cenex, which will manage data analysis and update results to a dedicated gas vehicle hub website,  said: “Cenex has a long history of supporting natural gas and biomethane use in the transport sector, and we are excited to be part of such an innovative trial demonstrating and assessing the performance of the latest advancements.”

Daniel Lambert, commercial director, at Air Liquide Advanced Business & Technologies UK, said: “OEMs are working hard to bring promising zero-emission technologies to the trucks they design, but without real-life road testing by big fleet customers, these technologies will not be able to impact CO2 emissions in a big way.

“We look forward to leading this innovative trial, and sharing the results with other HGV fleet operators across Europe and the globe.”

Scherm Group’s 65-tonne all-electric truck delivers significant C02 savings

Terberg Electric 65-tonne GCW truck

The use of a 65-tonne, all-electric truck to make local deliveries to and from a BMW plant in Munich has removed 22 tonnes of CO2 from the route since its introduction in 2015.

Scherm Group has been using the fully electric Terberg YT202-EV terminal tractor to transport materials to its local BMW plant 3km away in a two-shift operation, eight times per day, five days a week.

Since 2015, the truck has completed 3,000 trips totalling 17,000km and has helped Scherm save 8,000 litres of diesel and 22 tonnes of CO2.

“We are really satisfied with the e-truck,” said Ulf Frenzel, fleet manager for Scherm Group. “We wanted to prove that electric mobility also works in freight transport, and we achieved our goal.”

The fully-electric tractor is equipped with a three-phase synchronous motor (614V) with a maximum power rating of 188hp and a fully automatic Allison 3000 Series transmission.

Allison said its automatic transmission is the key to the driveline: the truck has to launch with a gross combination weight of up to 65 tonnes and achieve maximum speed as quickly as possible to meet the tight delivery schedule.

This is made possible by the transmission’s torque converter that multiples engine torque during start-up and acceleration.

“The electric truck has proved itself in city distribution and the just-in-time delivery for BMW is working fluently,” said Frenzel.

“The Allison transmission makes it possible to specifically use the power of the electric motor in the best manner. And the e-truck can be maneuvered easily and is extremely easy to drive.”

A second BMW supplier – Elflein Spedition & Transport – begun operating a similar electric truck in November last year. It is expected to save 21 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.


Daimler starts European small series production of 7.5-tonne all-electric truck

Daimler has begun small series production of its all-electric, light-duty Fuso eCanter truck for the European and US markets.

The electric trucks will be built at the group’s production plant in Tramagal, Portugal, with the first vehicles being handed over to customers this autumn.

Marc Llistosella, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation and head of Daimler Trucks Asia, said: “With the start of the production of the eCanter, we become the first global manufacturer to produce an all-electric truck in series.

“From now on we can address the growing demand for locally emission-free delivery trucks in mega-cities.”

He added: “We already received the first customer orders and will mark the global launch of this truck in one of the most iconic mega-cities, New York, this September.”

Daimler said the 7.5-tonne eCanter provides an answer to the need for a zero-emission and zero-noise truck for urban operation.

It has a range of 100km and a payload up to 4.5 tonnes depending on body type and usage. The vehicle’s electric powertrain contains six high-voltage lithium ion battery packs with 420V and 13.8 kWh each.

The European production line follows in the footsteps of the Kawasaki plant in Japan, which started building trucks earlier this month (7 July).

Seven-Eleven Company will be the first commercial operator in Japan, with 25 units in the fleet by the end of the year.

At last month’s Frevue conference it was claimed that switching to electric freight vehicles in London could deliver significant cost-savings for operators.

Royal Mail orders 100 Partner L2 Electric vans

Royal Mail household delivery

Royal Mail has signed an agreement with Peugeot to buy 100 Partner L2 Electric vans, to be used by postal workers on their delivery rounds.

The vans will be in service from December at delivery offices around the UK, supported by what the operator described as “a comprehensive rollout of charging infrastructure”.

Paul Gatti, Royal Mail fleet director, said: “Our research has shown that electric vans are a good operational fit with our business and we are delighted to be ordering such a large volume to use in our daily operations.

“This is good news for our customers and the towns and cities we serve. It also means we are on the front foot for future changes in emissions legislation.”

PSA Group fleet director Martin Gurney said: “The order was won after Royal Mail carried out extensive trials with the Partner Electric.

“It’s a tribute to their performance in the trials that Peugeot vans will soon be helping Royal Mail to reduce the environmental impact of its delivery fleet.”

The electric vans will be direct replacements for vehicles that have reached the end of their operational life.

Royal Mail is also investigating the use of electric vehicle technology for larger commercial vehicles to move mail within its network.

The move comes as the government set out plans to ban conventional diesel and petrol engines from 2040.

See Van Advisor for its First Drive of the Peugeot Partner.

DfT proposes extra weight for clean van technology in driving licence reform

Drivers would be permitted to operate heavier, low-emission vans on a standard category B (car) driving licence under new DfT proposals.

The plans have been developed to encourage adoption of non-diesel vans by operators as part of the government’s drive to improve air quality in urban areas.

Currently, a motorist with an ordinary category B licence for a car can drive a van weighing up to 3,500kg.

However alternative fuel technology, especially making use of battery technology, is generally heavier than conventional diesel systems.

This reduces the amount of goods vehicles can carry or means van drivers have to apply for a category C licence with the associated costs and medical report requirements.

In a consultation launched today, the DfT wants to allow motorists to drive vans weighing up to 4,250kg if they are powered by electricity, natural gas, LPG or hydrogen.

It says this will help level the playing field by addressing the payload penalty that currently puts operators of cleaner vans at a commercial disadvantage compared to conventional vehicles.

Transport minister Jesse Norman said: “Vans have become essential to our economy and are vital for our builders, small businesses and delivery drivers.

“We have more of them on our roads than ever before. That’s a good sign for the economy, but our challenge is to try to tackle their impact on air quality.

“We want to make it easier for businesses to opt for cleaner vehicles, and these proposals are designed to do just that.”

Road traffic estimates show there has been a rapid rise in light goods vehicle traffic over the last 20 years.

In 2016, vans clocked up 49.1 billion vehicle miles – an increase of 23% when compared with 2006.

Ocado head of fleet Stuart Skingsley said: “At Ocado, we are very keen to incorporate the latest low-emission technologies in our vehicle fleet, but we have been unable to do so, due to the extra weight of the technology and category B licence restrictions.

“This vital derogation would allow us to field the latest alternatively fuelled vans, reducing harmful emissions and improving the UK’s air quality,” he added.

The consultation will run until 18 October.