e are delighted to be a technical partner for this sustainable and affordable electric vehicle and if you’ll excuse the pun enter into the spirit of the moment,” says Clive Woolmer general manager of Xtrac’s automotive and engineering business, making reference to the origins of the van in the Concept Zeitgeist project announced at Frankfurt last year.
“We have built three transmissions for test and development and are well on our way to a final validation of the design. It was a challenging brief as StreetScooter aims to build a low cost vehicle in relatively low volumes. The best way to achieve this in the transmission has been to keep it simple with as few parts as possible, but offering a high level of reliability and durability to minimise operating costs during the life of the vehicle – a key requirement for any tradesman and commercial vehicle operator.”
Xtrac will soon build an additional 65 transmissions at its hi-tech factory in Berkshire. Much of this pre-production manufacturing is aimed at a large scale appraisal by a major fleet operator prior to commencing low volume series production.
The electric van has been developed by the specialist vehicle manufacturer StreetScooter GmbH as a multi-functional light commercial vehicle for a variety of service industry and trade roles. The extended wheelbase pre-production model making its world premiere at Hannover this week has a cargo capacity of about four cubic metres. It’s designed for city use and has a power rating of 30-45kW (40-60bhp) generated by a lithium-ion battery and induction motor. Maximum range is 120km (75 miles) and the maximum speed is 85km/h (53mph).
The vehicle was inspired by Dr Günther Schuh chair of production engineering at RWTH Aachen University, who is on record saying: “We need an affordable electric vehicle, because people are not willing to pay for e-mobility more than they're used to paying for conventional vehicles.”
Professor Dr Ing Achim Kampker chief executive of StreetScooter GmbH, who is also the Professor of production management at the world renowned Laboratory for Machine Tools at RWTH Aachen University and Germany's leading expert in the field of electric vehicle production, has responded with an ambitious business plan for an electric vehicle that is “not only affordable but also sustainable.” The business is supported by 20 medium-sized supplier companies and major corporations.
The electric vehicle can be tailored for a variety of roles to suit local tradesmen, utility companies, service engineers, rental firms and larger fleet operations that need to operate quietly and efficiently with zero carbon emissions in an inner city environment, where conceivably conventional vehicles with internal combustion engines may well in the future be banned. StreetScooter says that operator acquisition and maintenance costs and the total cost of ownership have been given top priority.
“We are in an excellent competitive position, says Professor Kampker. “There is considerable interest in our eco-friendly urban electric vehicle and our ability to customise it on the production line for different trades and commercial vehicle applications. We are grateful for the technical expertise provided by Xtrac, which has helped to deliver an efficient drivetrain, which in turn has helped us to build a sustainable and affordable electric vehicle for inner city use.”