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Looking at what Tevva Motors is up to in the UK, electric trucks look set to be a reality sooner than later.

Story by: Team CV

Electric truck drivetrains are attracting good deal of attention. They could soon become a reality on the roads of Europe. An electric truck startup company Tevva Motors (formerly Teva Motors) is working to commercialise range-extended electric trucks in the UK market for some time now. Revealing its latest offering recently via a video posted online, the company, at the last year’s CV show unveiled a battery-powered 7.5-tonne-GVW truck.

It was few months ago that the company announced the level up to which its come to in terms of being ready for application. The company mentioned that its powertrain can be electric powertrain has retrofitted to any 7.5-tonne truck. At the heart of the driveline is a pair of lithium-ion batteries, which fuel a single electric motor driving through a reduction gearbox to the truck’s standard rear axle. Battery power alone, mains-charged overnight, is claimed to present a range of about 80 miles. This could be enhanced by a 1.6-litre Ford diesel engine working as a range extender. Coming in at around 7.5-tonnes, the range-extended electric truck is manufactured by the Chinese company JAC, and claims to have an all-electric range of 130 km (over 80 miles). A much larger absolute-range is possible once the diesel range extender is factored in, and can be recharged in roughly three hours using a three-phase high-power outlet. Getting support from UPS, Tevva Motors is claimed to be particularly proud of its patented ‘Predictive Range Extender Management System’. One of the claimed benefits of the system is the ability to deliver a battery life of up to 10 years. The driveline comes from Sheffield-based Magtec; the lithium-ion battery pack comes from Essex-based Goodwolfe Energy.

While two of Tevva’s prototype trucks are claimed to have clocked around 30,000 miles over the past six months in road tests, and are based on the N-series chassis-cabs from JAC of China, it is UPS, which is currently performing a pilot study with one of the range-extended (REx) electric truck prototypes, which will lead to the company utilising the technology on a broader scale. A third Tevva test vehicle, with a retrofitted driveline, is based on a Mercedes-Benz Vario. According to Asher Bennett, Tevva Motors Chief Executive, all three vehicles were built to be broken. “That is how we find weaknesses and improve the design to be production-ready. The fact that all three vehicles continue to perform beyond expectation is testament to the technology. But this is only the start,” he said. Interestingly, one of the ideas behind the use a range extender is that, while carbon emissions (and pollution) will still be emitted by the truck, the timing of these emissions can be easily controlled. In other words, rather than spewing diesel pollution in urban and residential areas, the use of the range-extender can be limited to freeways, rural areas, etc.

UPS van retrofitted with hybrid powertrain

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It was later last year that Parcel carrier UPS announced its plan to repower a considerable number of its van fleet with a locally-developed hybrid driveline. This would be a part of the parcel carrier’s global strategy to lower its carbon footprint. Designed and developed by engineering consultancy Revolve Technologies, the hybrid driveline would also serve to extend the useful service life of the company’s Mercedes-Benz Vario vans claimed sources. Using the Cenex 2015 Low Carbon event at Millbrook to present the hybrid drivetrain installed in a UPS Mercedes-Benz Vario van, Revolve Technologies took upon themselves to reveal the nature of the hybrid driveline. The hybrid system employs a Ford Focus diesel engine to act as a generator, which runs at one of the three fixed speeds depending on demand. It is optimised for emissions and consumption at 1,300, 2,200 and 3,200rpm. The battery and the power management system along with the P180 electric traction motor, which drives the rear wheels directly, are Magtec units produced in the UK. During braking the traction motor becomes a generator, recovering energy by producing electricity which is stored in the batteries. The new drivetrains, revealed Revolve Technologies sources, will be installed in the vans by Tevva Motors. The additional weight of the hybrid components, claimed Revolve sources, is offset to a degree by using a lighter diesel engine, and the drivetrain has no significant effect on the vans’ payload.

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