The Customer Services and New Business & Products divisions of Linde Material Handling presented the prototype of an all-electric service vehicle based on a Fiat Ducato L1H1 at its World of Material Handling customer event in Mainz. The drive system, a Linde eco-Kit L with 50 kW output, consisting of a three-phase AC motor, power module, control system and further components, comes from Linde’s series production of industrial trucks. The service vehicle is powered by a 33 kWh lithium-polymer battery. When fully equipped for all service eventualities, it will reach a maximum speed of 100 km/h and will have a cruising range of 100 km. This autumn will see the start of a field trial involving four vehicles, operating in London and Paris, as well as in the Rhine-Main region and the Ruhr district. Energy supply company WEMAG AG, based in Northern Germany, is the development partner for the project.
Increasing environmental burdens such as smog and particulate matter are forcing local administrations in densely populated urban centres worldwide to undertake more and more drastic measures. Environmental zones have been standard for a while now, but partial or total driving bans, such as the ones seen in Paris most recently, are increasingly becoming the rule too. This represents a challenge for suppliers and service providers who need to reach their customers even under these circumstances. “We are fortunate to be able to develop our own solutions to these problems thanks to our specific expertise,” says Massimiliano Sammartano, Vice President Customer Services. “And our preliminary study in France shows that our electric service van can optimally meet the application requirements of our service technicians in large city environments.”
In 2013, Linde’s service organisation in France analysed the on-site operations of 57 service technicians. These completed a daily average of three service orders in urban centres, usually covering only short distances at medium speed. Up to three hours of servicing time at the client’s site also allows sufficient time for reasonable interim recharging using the normal power supply grid. “Worldwide, more than 7,500 service technicians are out in the field for Linde Material Handling, and between 10 and 20 percent of them work in urban areas,” says Sammartano. “So we could use up to 1,000 all-electric service vehicles. This offers great potential for CO2 reductions and would ensure reliable service processes in cities at all times – completely emission-free and therefore independent of environmental zones and traffic bans.”
The Electronic Systems & Drives (ES&D) unit, a part of the New Business & Products business division of Linde Material Handling, has been offering electric drive systems from industrial truck series production under the label eMotion for mobile and stationary applications since 2010. WEMAG AG equips the Fiat vans with Linde eco-kits, batteries, chargers and battery management systems. The company is engaged in the development of ecological mobility concepts for private and industrial users. In turn, the ES&D engineers are concerned with ensuring optimum system integration and vehicle calibration. “In the field trial, we will test the practicality of the electric service van and develop the optimal setup for this van together with WEMAG,” says Maik Manthey, Vice President New Business & Products. “Then we can offer Linde service organizations around the world vehicles that are ideal for everyday use and correspond to series production standards.”