European First in Stollberg: 40-Ton Truck, All-Electric

eJIT research project: first two all-electric 40-ton trucks go public

From the outside, they look like regular trucks – but on the inside, they are brimming with the future: IAV is working with partners under the eJIT project to transition logistics towards electric drives. Presented at Stollberg in mid-June, the first two 40-ton trucks will be on the road in Leipzig and Zwickau. Their drivers are already well-impressed.

Big media hype at IAV’s Chemnitz/Stollberg Development Center: many journalists wanted to be present when Europe’s first two all-electric trucks were unveiled. The eJIT (just-in-time logistics system based on electric mobility) project could indeed herald in a new era in JIT logistics – by gradually replacing the omnipresent diesel with electric drives.

Within the project, IAV has equipped the two semitrailer trucks with an all-electric drive system. With its 280 kilowatts of continuous power output and 320 kilowatts of peak power as well as batteries with a capacity of 144 kilowatt hours, the trucks can reach a top speed of 85 kilometers an hour and cover a maximum distance of 70 kilometers fully laden with freight weighing 40 tons. In future, they will shuttle between the Porsche plant and the sports car maker’s logistics center as well as between the Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH’s factory in Zwickau and the close-by base of Volkswagen’s partner Schnellecke Logistics.

Fast acceleration without interrupting traction

In initial tests, both trucks met all expectations. “They handle very well and provide fast acceleration without any interruption in traction”, reports Sven Hönicke, head of the Powertrain Testing department at IAV. “The drivers were really impressed with the quiet truck tractor’s easy drivability.” Following their presentation, the two trucks will now undergo field tests which, among other aspects, will examine the technology’s reliability and dynamic under load. Analysis is also to cover various charging strategies in relation to battery aging and the exacting demands of JIT logistics.

Intelligent charging technology is also part of eJIT. In Leipzig, the project partners take 45 minutes per shift to recharge the battery three times a day. The truck traveling between Schnellecke Logistics and VW’s Zwickau factory is recharged with 150 kilowatts by DC charging during the eight-minute stop at the loading bay. “In future, a smaller battery could be used because we can frequently recharge”, Hönicke says. The project partners are also considering quick charging at 400  amps (currently 200 amps) – the battery’s cells are rated for these high currents. But this will require new plugs or an inductive charging system.

In addition to its electric drive system and as a particular technical highlight, the Leipzig truck will be getting an assist system in 2018 for highly automated driving, This will be available at the beginning of 2018 and can then be
tested. It is planned to provide the Zwickau vehicle with an automated maneuvering system for docking at the loading and unloading bays.

The eJIT project is part of the “Information and Communications Technology for Electric Mobility III: Integrating Commercial Electric Vehicles into Logistical, Energy and Mobility Infrastructures” technology program with which the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is continuing research activities in the commercial use of electric mobility. Besides IAV as lead partner, eJIT project partners also include Porsche Leipzig GmbH, Schnellecke Logistics, Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH as well as the Network of Automotive Suppliers in Saxony (AMZ).