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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Volvo Group breaks megawatt hour barrier


The electromobility specialist Designwerk (owned by Volvo Group) has become the first manufacturer to launch an all-electric semitrailer tractor with 1000 kilowatt hours (kWh) battery capacity. This represents a new milestone in electromobility for the commercial vehicle industry, in that long-distance and heavy-duty transports are no longer restricted to diesel and hydrogen-powered vehicles. The higher energy efficiency of the electric truck drive outshines the trio of diesel, hydrogen, and synthetic fuel drives by far. This is a clear plus point for e-trucks in a time of energy scarcity. With a battery capacity of one megawatt hour, the vehicle is likely to be particularly appealing to companies in distribution and long-distance logistics. Criteria such as emission-free driving, subsidy measures and a long-term positive cost balance compared to conventional drives are convincing more and more customers from transport logistics of the benefits of electric drive systems.

The speed of change in mobility for commercial vehicles on the road is picking up. The complete system provider Designwerk, which is driving electromobility forward with e-truck range world records, a wide variety of special applications and high-capacity batteries, is now presenting what is to date a unique vehicle: a tractor unit with 1000 kWh battery capacity. No other manufacturer has broken the megawatt-hour barrier so far.

Of the 1000 kWh available, 864 kWh are consumed in daily operation; the remainder is stored in order to extend battery life. With a fully loaded transport, say of 42 tonnes, the vehicle designed by the Swiss e-mobility pioneer can drive for 576 kilometres. Depending on the load and route profile, up to 640 kilometres may be possible.

Designwerk founder and board member Tobias Wülser puts it in a nutshell: “Large capacity batteries make the energy efficiency of electric trucks even more apparent. In this case, our electric vehicle consumes 52 percent less energy than a diesel vehicle.” It is not only from a commercial point of view that the figures favor the e-truck. With an average mileage of 120,000 kilograms per year, the CO2 savings with a Swiss electricity mix are 74 percent over the entire service life of the vehicle.

Above all, customers from the distribution, long-distance transport, heavy and special transport industries will find the Designwerk electric truck to be a genuine replacement for their conventionally powered vehicles. Due to the special positioning of the battery systems behind the cabin and the resulting extension of the chassis by one metre, the vehicle is particularly suitable for use in Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries. The option to charge the vehicle with 350 kW allows it to be used in shifts. The electric truck charges 80% SoC in about 100 minutes.

The built-in high-voltage battery system with NMC technology originate from the company’s own battery manufacturing facility. They stand out due to their modular design and high energy density in a small space when compared to the competition. Designwerk uses them to electrify a wide variety of commercial vehicles.

The 40-tonne truck puts 500 kilowatts (680 hp) of power on the road and drives with the proprietary 1-speed transmission with no gear shifting, no clutch engagement and no jerking. Designwerk offers the vehicle as Mid and High Cab 6x2T. The first vehicles will be seen, but barely heard, on Switzerland’s roads at the end of 2023.

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