IAA Hanover 2019: electric is entering the LCV mainstream
Last mile delivery: the buzzword
Ford presented its vision on an urban distribution van based on the Transit. It can carry a parcel bike in its cargo area, with which the driver can deliver packages while leaving this van parked outside the heart of the city. The bike is equipped with a tablet that connects to the logistics platform.
Mercedes sees things rather differently with its Vision Urbanetic. This concept allows you to swap bodies to match its cargo – in a matter of minutes. If you need to transport people, you can “click” a passenger module onto the base platform, which contains the electric propulsion system. The cargo module can take up to 10 Europallets.
E-vans: from a spark to a flame
Ford showed the near-production version of its Transit Custom PHEV, which is equipped with a relatively small battery pack and a range extender in the shape of the well-known 1.0 EcoBoost petrol engine. Interestingly, the latter does not drive the wheels, but only acts as a generator.
Ford also has an all-electric Transit on offer, albeit one that carries the StreetScooter badge. The Work XL is based on a Transit chassis onto which are grafted a Bosch-sourced electric motor and a 76-kWh battery pack. Built to the wishes of DHL, this large electric van can carry 1,150 kg in its 20 m³ cargo area over a distance estimated at 250 km.
VW: quite the buzz
Most of the media attention went to the Cargo version of the very likeable VW Buzz – indeed, the Transporter of the next generation. Amongst its interesting features: a fold-down centre seat that carries an integrated computer station. It also has 230 V power outlets to charge tools.
Less tangible, but at least as promising is what Volkswagen calls Digital Cargo. This features smart shelves in the cargo area that interface with the company’s order management system to verify everything is on board before you leave.
Maxus: the Chinese readily-available alternative
Whereas most other builders of e-vans will keep you waiting for several months, if not a year, to deliver their latest products, Maxus can ship as many EV80 as you like – the model has been rolling off the production line for quite some time now in its native China. And that may just be a major advantage in this fast-changing LCV landscape.