The commercial vehicle segment is seeing a growing demand for electric powertrains. With IAV Elocity, IAV offers a modular e-powertrain that can be tailored to fit the requirements of any customer. The first one to use it will be Tassima, the Berlin-based company which, from 2019, will be converting double-decker tourist buses with diesel engines to environmentally friendly electric drives.
Electric mobility in commercial vehicles is really taking off because some applications with electric drives are already producing benefits in the “Total Cost of Ownership” (TCO) calculation. Apart from avoiding driving bans and helping to keep the air clean, the lower TCO will play a significant part in determining market penetration. However, there are no sets of parts on the market for new and used vehicles that meet the high demands of the commercial vehicle world. This is something IAV wants to change: “Our generic, modular e-powertrain is a production-ready solution that is suitable for many different onroad applications, like buses or delivery vehicles”, says Utz-Jens Beister, Managing Director of IAV Cars GmbH. Even today, electrically powered commercial vehicles and buses can, under specific boundary conditions, be more cost-efficient than their conventionally driven counterparts.
One-stop shop solution
In electrifying commercial vehicles IAV plays the part of system integrator. At the heart of the epowertrain is the system control unit which provides interfaces to all components, such as battery, e-motor and power electronics. These can come from suppliers who are able to deliver components that meet the particular requirements (e. g. battery capacity or power output of the e-motor). “We give our customers a onestop shop, production-ready solution that satisfies all of the demands in terms of safety and durability”, says Florian Brandau, contact person at IAV for e-mobility in commercial vehicles. The biggest challenges here include functional safety, the seamlessness of all interfaces (e. g. end-to-end diagnostics) as well as the diversity of potential applications. “We know the specific demands for applications in the commercial vehicle segment from developing diesel powertrains”, Brandau explains. “A highly qualified team at IAV transfers this experience to solutions that are tailored to electric drive systems.” IAV Elocity is constantly updated and brought into line with new developments so that we can take advantage of progress made in battery development and, in this way, always offer the customer a state-of-the-art technology. In a further development stage, there are plans to link the powertrain with integrated telematics solutions and provide the capability of distributing OTA (Over-The-Air) Updates.
New lease of life for historic double-decker buses
There is already a first user for IAV Elocity: from 2019, Tassima wants to convert historic, dieselengined double-decker buses to an electric drive system. Originally, they were in regular service for Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe, Berlin’s public transport company, and are used today in the capital as tourist buses. Their diesel engines are no longer up to date – partners IAV, Tassima and Ziehl-Abegg want to send out a signal and offer an environmentally friendly e-drive for this fleet of double-deckers that meets the bus operators’ wish for a zero-emission and virtually silent vehicle. For this purpose, IAV Cars will be orchestrating the complete set of parts made up of the electric drive axle, the battery, the display system and the drive for the auxiliaries. Besides Tassima, the other project partner is Ziehl-Abegg who offers an electric drive axle as a retrofit solution for heavy commercial vehicles.
“In Europe there are about 450 of these double-decker buses which, despite being up to 35 years old, are still fully operational”, Brandau reports. “Our e-powertrain is a sustainable solution that will give these vehicles a zeroemission future and ensure they are kept in sustainable operation for as long as possible.“