Zero-Emission City Service

Service Logistics

Zero-Emission City Service

Cities all over the world are affected by increasing air pollution. Ecological transport strategies are required to effectively counter this problem. In May 2014, Linde eMotion presented a new fully electric service vehicle for zero-emission travel in metropolitan areas. Its drive unit comes from a forklift truck.

Linde Material Handling’s fully electric service vehicle is ready for preliminary field trials in cities.

Particulate material and smog are a major problem in metropolitan areas despite the introduction of low-emission zones. The air in China’s capital Beijing, for example, was seriously polluted on 58 days in 2013 (Source: Environmental Protection Office Beijing). European cities are also affected. In March 2014, driving bans were implemented in the greater Paris area as a result of extreme air pollution. Car owners had to leave their vehicles at home on alternate days, depending on whether their registration plates had an even or odd number. Only vehicles with electric or hybrid drive systems were allowed on the road every day.

Air pollution is therefore becoming a challenge for suppliers and service providers in metropolitan areas. In response to this problem, Linde Material Handling has developed an ecological and efficient solution for service journeys in cities: a purely electrically driven van based on the Fiat Ducato L1H1. The new service vehicle celebrated its world premiere in May 2014 during the World of Material Handling customer event in Mainz, where Linde’s Customer Services and New Business & Products divisions presented the prototype.

Fully electric drive from a forklift

The new service vehicle’s drive system stems from the normal forklift truck production line. At its centre is the Linde eco-Kit L, a 50-kilowatt power module consisting of a three-phase motor, power electronics, control unit and other components. Equipped with a 33-kilowatt-hour lithium-polymer battery, the vehicle achieves a top speed of 100 kilometres per hour and has a range of roughly 100 kilometres.

Field trials in European conurbations

In autumn 2014, field trials will begin with four vehicles, which will be deployed in London, Paris, the Rhine-Main region and the Ruhr District. Development partner for the project is WEMAG AG, the energy provider based in northern Germany.

An especially important impetus for the development of the service vehicle came from a preliminary study carried out in France. In 2013, the French Linde service organization analyzed the assignments of a total of 57 service technicians. In metropolitan areas they completed an average of three service assignments a day, usually travelling short distances at medium speeds. Periods of up to three hours spent with customers were sufficient for an intermediate charge from the electricity grid.

“Our preliminary study in France demonstrated that the e-service van can ideally satisfy our service technicians’ requirements in a metropolitan environment,” explains Massimiliano Sammartano, Vice President Customer Services. With regard to future serial production, Sammartano adds: “Linde Material Handling deploys more than 7,500 service technicians worldwide, and roughly 10 to 20% of them are based in metropolitan areas. Potentially, therefore, we could deploy up to 1,000 fully electric service vehicles. That offers immense potential for reducing CO2 emissions and also means permanently available and reliable service processes in big cities because they are zero-emission and therefore unaffected by low-emission zones or driving bans.”

Ecological mobility: Linde and WEMAG cooperation

WEMAG AG is fitting Fiat Transporters with Linde eco-Kits, batteries and charging and battery management systems, while Linde eMotion engineers are ensuring optimum system integration and vehicle adaptation.

“We will test the practical viability of the e-service vehicles during the field trials and develop the optimum setup jointly with WEMAG,” says Maik Manthey, Vice President New Business & Products. “Then we will be able to provide Linde’s global service organization with a practical vehicle for everyday use that meets mass production standards.”

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