NEWS ANALYSIS: The highlights from Hanover

Date: Tuesday, November 06, 2018   |   Author: James Dallas

The big hitters were out in force at Europe’s largest commercial vehicle show. James Dallas picks out some of the major developments.

All hail Volkswagen’s e-taxis

Volkswagen

As usual VW took a prominent position at its hometown IAA CV Show in Hanover, Germany, with a packed stand dominated by the unveiling of an array of electric light commercial concepts.

Prominent among these were e-Caddy and e-Transporter taxis, with capacity to carry five and nine people respectively, which VW has developed in conjunction with electric vehicle conversion specialist ABT.

The surprise for UK customers is that, despite order books already having opened for the e-Crafter large van on the continent, we are likely to get the e-Caddy van first.

Carl zu Dohna, VW’s UK boss, told What Van? the e-Caddy would go on sale in the UK in mid-2019 with the e-Crafter arriving “after this date”. As for the electric Transporter, he said: “It is not confirmed when it will come.”

Based on the long-wheelbase Caddy Maxi, VW says the e-Caddy taxi has a New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) range of 220km (137 miles). As a panel van, the brand claims the model will offer a load volume of 4.2m3 and payload of 635kg. Power comes from a 37.3kW lithium-ion battery in combination with an 82kW electric motor.

The e-Transporter concept is offered with two batteries, 37.3kWh and 74.6kWh, delivering ranges of 208km (129 miles) or 400km (249 miles), depending upon the operator’s requirements. As a van it offers a 6.7m3 load space with payloads of 1,050kg with the smaller battery or 750kg with the larger one.

Volkswagen has come comparatively late to the party in putting electric vans into production but zu Dohna explained the strategy: “In the past you wouldn’t invest because the volumes were so low, but now the time is right.”

Visitors to the stand also got to see the three-wheel Cargo e-bike, which is designed for last-mile deliveries and set to come to market in 2019. The pedelec (pedal electric cycle) assists its rider’s pedalling with a 48V motor and boasts a 0.5m3 cargo box that can carry weights of up to 210kg.

A diesel-electric mild hybrid Transporter concept was on display too and, looking further ahead, VW presented its ID Buzz Cargo concept in Hanover. Equipped with its modular electric drive kit (MEB), the brand claims the model will offer a range of up to 550km (342 miles) as well as an ID Pilot automated driving mode.

Moving away from electric power the manufacturer also unveiled the Crafter Hymotion, which comes with a hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain. Designed to cover longer distances, VW claims it has a range of 500km (311 miles).

Advantages over electric vans, according to VW, are that it can be refuelled in little more time than it takes to refuel a diesel van and it suffers no payload handicap from having to carry a battery.

Ford

As well as the Ranger Raptor pick-up truck and facelifted Transit, which we reviewed in our previous issue (What Van? October 2019), Ford showcased a pair of connected vehicle solutions that it plans to bring to the UK early next year.

The Ford Telematics application aims to provide fleet operators with the ability to view data from connected Ford vehicles. Using information collected from the vehicle, a web-based portal supplies advice to help improve fleet efficiency and driver safety, enabling fleet managers to view fleets in near real-time and gain insights into performance.

Ford Data Services is designed to allow large fleets, telematics service providers and fleet management firms direct access to OEM-grade vehicle data via their in-house systems.

Using Ford’s built-in modem, Ford Data Services transfers data directly from the vehicle to the cloud without the need for third-party hardware, management or installation downtime.

From there, the vehicle data is relayed to the fleet’s internal IT system or third-party provider, according to the manufacturer.

The brand also unveiled a new Transit Connect Sportvan featuring an exterior styling kit, matt-black sports stripes with silver or orange accents, and 16in alloys.



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