2013 Geneva Motor Show: Vw e-Co-Motion Concept is an electrically powered city delivery van

Article by Christian A., on March 6, 2013

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is offering its e-Co-Motion concept vehicle, an electrically powered city delivery van, as the possible solution to growing cities and the need to reduce gas emissions. Around the world, cities are getting bigger and this means that the demand for transport solutions is increasing. But there’s the matter of stricter CO2 standards.

In addition, numerous big cities are imposing vehicle access restrictions to avoid smog and fine particulate pollution. Dr. Eckhard Scholz, Spokesperson of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, gave a presentation of this city delivery van.

This vehicle exclusively uses electric drive systems. The electric drive unit is attached to the rear axle along with a single-speed planetary gearbox to attain big wheel turning angles at the front axle. This makes this vehicle become highly maneuverable – an essential feature for city operation.

It then has a turning circle of 8.95 metres, which is exceptional in this vehicle class. The compact drive unit offers a continuous power output of 50 kW / 68 PS, representing energy savings. The maximum power of the drive unit is set at 85 kW / 115 PS.

It also has a maximum torque of 270 Nm that permits the vehicle to offer an impressive acceleration even when the vehicle is carrying a heavy load. The e-Co-Motion concept was intended to be used for city deliveries on city streets but it offers an electronically limited top speed of 120 km/h.

This allows for driving on city motorways and short intercity routes. Customers have various driving range requirements but the three-stage modular battery concept for the traction battery is capable of meeting all of them.

For ranges of around 100km, the vehicle could be equipped with a battery with a capacity of 20 kWh. But for a 150 km driving range, it will have to come with a battery with 30 kWh. And for a top driving range of 200 km, the vehicle has to use a battery with 40 kWh storage capacity.

The crossmembers and rib structure of the battery box were designed to be used as a load- bearing body element. This also helps to cut the vehicle’s weight.

Stripped down but very much functional. Basic, but relevant to the needs of the market. Nothing fancy, but checks out in the practical aspect. Durable and strong, but is environmentally attuned.

These are the characteristics that make the Volkswagen e-Co-Motion an automotive wonder and a potentially ideal city delivery zero-emissions delivery van in the years to come. The e-Co-Motion has all the bare necessities one can expect from a vehicle of this mold. The e-Co-Motion is both functional and commercial as it provides the day-to-day requirements of the on-the-go transporter.

The van offers a comfortable workspace, and a good example would be the adequate areas in the van for tools, documents, an even freight goods. The van was designed not only to be functional, but also to be very easy to drive and unobtrusive in the driver’s/occupants’ requirement to move about in the line of work.

A rotary gear selector switch has been put in place in lieu of a selector lever. The conventional handbrake has been excluded, thus clearing the path to the side door in the passenger side whose seat has also been made foldable to further make for easier access.

Since the van will be often used for work, the driver must be able to focus on the tasks at hand. The driver is afforded an elevated seat position which therefore provides better visibility.

On top of practical features like the modular centre console that is movable, the drinks holders, and the 12 V and 230 V accessory outlets, the driver also is spared from distractions as the e-Co-Motion provides an eight-inch colour monitor that will relay climate control, infotainment and all other data relevant to the driver.

Press Release

Vw e-Co-Motion Concept

The global trend towards increasingly larger cities with 10, 15 or 20 million residents is associated with growing demands for transport solutions - more and more products and goods will need to be delivered to cities and transported away from them. At the same time, legal authorities are demanding significant reductions in greenhouse gases and emissions as well as compliance with more stringent CO2 limits. Moreover, many large cities are implementing vehicle access restrictions to avoid smog and fine particulate pollution. The e-Co-Motion concept vehicle, an electrically powered city delivery van from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, now offers a potential solution.

Such a city delivery van, according to Dr. Eckhard Scholz, Spokesperson of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, should be designed to exclusively utilise electric drive systems, so that users can realise the many benefits of its vehicle properties. In the specification for such a project, top priority should be given to a vehicle that is highly manoeuvrable with a small footprint and offers very good all-round visibility with a high seat position. In addition, very good seat ergonomics with easy entry and walk-through are desirable. Loading should be made easy by a low cargo floor height, and the vehicle should also offer a large cargo capacity. Ideally, the overall concept should be implemented as a uniform platform that could serve as a basis for as many derivatives as possible - for a wide variety of body concepts and customer solutions.

The electric drive unit is mounted to the rear axle together with a single-speed planetary gearbox to achieve large wheel turning angles at the front axle and thereby the manoeuvrability that is so important for city operation. As a result, its turning circle is 8.95 metres, which is unique in this vehicle class. The continuous power output of the compact drive unit is an energy-saving 50 kW / 68 PS. The drive unit's maximum power is 85 kW / 115 PS, while its maximum torque of 270 Nm enables good acceleration even in heavily loaded vehicles. Although it was designed for city deliveries on city streets, the electronics of the Volkswagen e-Co-Motion concept do not limit its top speed until 120 km/h. This permits driving on city motorways and short intercity routes. A three-stage modular battery concept for the traction battery optimally fulfils the different driving range requirements of customers. A battery with a capacity of 20 kWh could be installed for driving ranges of around 100 km, while a battery with 30 kWh would enable a 150 km driving range. Finally, a battery with 40 kWh storage capacity is planned for the top driving range of 200 km. The battery box was well designed; its crossmembers and rib structure let it serve a secondary purpose as a load-bearing body element that also helps to reduce vehicle weight.

A key word here is workspace, because the functional orientation of the vehicle concept is also reflected in the cleanly laid out control centre of the Volkswagen e-Co-Motion. Reduced to just the essentials, this has resulted in a commercial vehicle in the best sense of the word. It focuses on the everyday needs of a transporter: step in, buckle up and drive off - without having to read an operator's manual first. There are practical storage options for tools, documents and freight goods, but without interfering elements. For example, instead of a selector lever, a rotary gear selector switch is installed, and there is no conventional handbrake lever. In turn, this simplifies walking through via the passenger's side door, which is also made easier by the conveniently folding seat on the passenger's side. While sitting in a pleasantly elevated seat position with good all-round visibility, the driver's gaze only stops as it scans the cockpit, such as in viewing the control panel for climate control and infotainment, which controls nearly all vehicle functions from a central point and displays the necessary information on an eight-inch colour monitor. Also ingenious is the movable, modular centre console with computer, storage compartment, drink holders and 12 V and 230 V accessory outlets.

These are just a few examples of innovations by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, which show how the VW e-Co-Motion concept vehicle being presented at the 2013 Geneva International Motor Show could be the ideal zero-emissions city delivery van of the future.

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