Inner City Logistics

Retrofittable e-mobility. Cities are amazed.

The development of eTransport got going as silently as an electric car: here the first Tesla on the company premises, there yet another report on ever-increasing emissions polluting our cities. The venture into e-mobility has had many motivating factors. More than five years later, the firm intention to find new solutions for inner city logistics has resulted in eTransport, an electrically powered axle that has already won multiple awards.

Inner City Logistics
Finding solutions for sustainable inner city logistics ranks among the industry’s most urgent challenges.
Inner City Logistics
The question is not whether inner city logistics will be emission-free. The question is when.

“We embarked on the development of our own electric drive with wideopen minds. It was not until the project was underway that the focus was increasingly directed towards a retrofittable system for distribution vehicles,” says Michael Pfeiffer, personally liable managing partner of BPW. “eTransport is the logical consequence of the highly political challenges posed by the final mile, and at the same time meets the diverse requirements of the industry beyond city centres. It is even conceivable to have a version of the electrically driven axle for trucks up to 26 tonnes.” In particular, eTransport is interesting because this new development is retrofittable. While the underlying conditions for logistics companies become more and more complex, the solution is remarkably simple. And therefore highly exciting as well.

Silently across the city

eTransport follows an entirely new principle: in contrast to conventional e-drive concepts, the drive is fully integrated into the axle. Accordingly, the batteries are situated directly between the axles. This protects them in the event of an accident and saves space. As with pure e-vehicles, there is no need for a combustion engine and exhaust treatment, or for a differential or drive shaft. Depending on the vehicle type, this achieves weight savings of up to 700 kilograms, which frees up load capacity for the batteries and cargo. The all-electric drive also recovers braking energy and improves manoeuvrability thanks to torque vectoring. This drive concept originates from motorsport and is new to the commercial vehicles. Torque vectoring makes vehicles more stable and also more agile because the wheels are individually controlled and steering behaviour is supported by the rear axle.

Inner City Logistics

Converting for the future

There is no doubt that e-mobility is set to fundamentally change our streetscapes. However, this will take a few years. eTransport offers a fast alternative. Its special design makes it possible to convert many different types of commercial vehicle, including popular models, such as the Mercedes-Benz Vario and the Iveco Daily. It is also worthwhile from a business perspective, not least because it looks as if diesel vehicles will be banned from city centres by 2020. The automotive industry is only responding slowly, and electric commercial vehicles remain scarce. The diesel ban could threaten the very survival of many small and mediumsized enterprises, especially because the residual value of diesel vehicles that are not yet depreciated or are equipped with costly custom body structures or fittings will be virtually zero.

Relief for the main axle

For city logistics, eTransport has arrived at the right time. Technical innovations to benefit inner cities were long overdue. Delivery vehicles have not undergone any significant change over the past ten years, unlike the demands that are placed on them. The growth figures for online commerce alone have turned the market upside down. According to experts, more than four billion parcels are now delivered across Germany every year. Within a decade, delivery volumes have therefore nearly doubled. This rapid rise comes with opportunities, but also risks. There is a great deal of catching up to do, especially with regard to costs. The final mile accounts for between 50 and 70 percent of logistics costs. Accordingly, in terms of overall costs, city logistics is a key factor for the future.


DID YOU KNOW that BPW sells more than 275,000 trailer disc brakes every year, which makes it the market leader in Europe?

Success on silent tracks

The looming traffic gridlock, stricter environmental policies, rising costs and continued double-digit growth in online commerce – these are the challenges that the industry has to address today and in the future. The various tasks are spread across all those involved – municipalities, CEP services, commerce and manufacturers of commercial vehicles are all equally called on to submit modern logistics concepts. New developments thus attract the attention of a broad and critical target group. “In 2016, we presented our emission-free axle drive at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hanover, which met with considerable interest. In the spring of 2017, we received the ‘Green Truck Innovation Award 2017’ and the ‘KEP Innovation Prize’, and came in second for the prestigious ‘GreenTec Award’. While we are absolutely convinced of the merits of eTransport, this success has surpassed our expectations. For this very reason, we will now do our utmost to equip as many delivery and commercial vehicles as possible with eTransport. This is our contribution towards a city logistics that is quiet and emission-free,” says Markus Schell, personally liable managing partner of BPW.

New energy in passing

Quiet and emission-free: this also applies to ePower, the wheel hub generator for energy recovery that makes inner city traffic another little bit smarter. Designed and manufactured especially for refrigerated vehicles whose noisy diesel generators can emit large quantities of particulates and nitric oxide. There are no limit values for these units. At least not yet. ePower addressing this problem by recovering: energy generated during coasting and braking and efficiently converting it into electricity.

On the road with your own power plant

ePower comes to the fore in the inner city environment. The wheel hub generator facilitates emission-free and completely silent cargo refrigeration. This positive side-effect paves the way for night-time deliveries, which have not been possible to date because of the associated noise and exhaust pollution. “Over long distances, ePower represents a compelling hybrid solution. We’re not only covering the entire supply chain but also enabling operators to save of up to 2,500 litres of diesel per year,” says Dr. Markus Kliffken, managing director of innovation management at BPW. The ability, by the way, to retrofit ePower was also planned from the outset. “With eTransport and ePower, we have two efficient systems that have the potential to bring quick and effective change to delivery traffic, especially in inner city areas,” confirms Jan Achim Kotz, personally liable managing partner of BPW. “We are also working on other exciting innovations for sustainable city logistics. No stone will be left unturned.”

eTransport: the next step of technical e-volution

The electric axle eTransport was developed by the BPW Group specifically for inner-city distribution vehicles in order to enable zero-emission logistics.

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