Revolutionizing Heavy Goods Transport: Electric Truck Prototypes for Sustainable Road-Bound Freight

2023-07-01 07:00:00

After several years of testing, the PEM Chair (Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components) at the RWTH Aachen University will complete the “LiVePLuS” project funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics on July 31 as scheduled. As part of this, various prototypes of electric trucks for heavy-duty goods transport have been created, which, depending on the application, combine a drive battery with an electric motor and a pantograph. The RWTH chair has now demonstrated their practical suitability on the “Siemens Mobility” test track in Groß Dölln near Berlin in a demo drive with reconfigured semi-trailers.

“Due to the high proportion of road-bound goods transport, truck traffic also urgently needs to be decarbonized,” says PEM director and “StreetScooter” co-inventor Achim Kampker: “This can be done as quickly as possible by converting the existing vehicles.” So far, however, there has been no competitive solution given for their electrification. The aim of the project was therefore the development of an economically viable electric drive train for heavy goods transport vehicles.

For this purpose, the PEM team designed a modular kit with a battery and catenary pantograph, whereby the drive battery is intended for feeder journeys and the pantograph for the energy supply on long-distance journeys. “With the help of our modular principle, semitrailer tractors and other heavy vehicles can be electrified depending on the application,” explains Fabian Schmitt, head of the “Zero Emission Trucks” department at the PEM chair. By supplying energy with the help of the overhead line, “the capacity of the battery can be designed to be small and at the same time achieve a long range”.

During the course of the project, the PEM team converted two tractor units and tested them on test routes with overhead line infrastructure. The findings should prove the suitability of semitrailer tractors with pantographs and serve as a basis for future series developments. (awm)

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