Stoos/Schwyz, April 17, 2019 — At 1,305 meters above sea level in the car-free Swiss village of Stoos, the future is underway. All eyes were on the village when the world’s steepest funicular was opened there in December 2017, and now it is the venue of another small world premiere with great potential, as the Swiss tech firm ecovolta celebrates the first Aebi Transporter fitted with a fully electric drive. The Transporter was electrified in cooperation with Aebi. Aebi Schmidt is a globally leading provider of vehicles and services for the maintenance of green spaces on challenging terrain. This is the first time that an Aebi machine has used the standardized Li-ion traction battery developed by ecovolta.
Pilot project lays the groundwork for partnership between Aebi Schmidt Group and ecovolta
Since the start of February 2019, the popular Aebi VT 450 Transporter has been in use in the car-free mountain village of Stoos — with a fully electric drive. It is Aebi’s first 100 percent electric and emission-free Transporter model. It is the product of a collaboration between the Aebi Schmidt Group and ecovolta. Tobias Weissenrieder, Head of Technical Unit (R&D and Product Management) at the Aebi Schmidt Group, speaks proudly of their partnership with ecovolta: “It took us just 5 months to go from the idea to implementation. As we developed and integrated the drive concept, we learned a few things that we will be able to use again in future projects.” ecovolta is a division of ecocoach AG, whose CEO Pirmin Reichmuth adds: “The pilot project is a perfect example of Swiss engineering and certainly won’t be the last electrifying innovation from Aebi Schmidt and ecovolta.”
Electrified Swiss Transporter with Swiss battery solution and drive technology
Like the conventional model, the eVT 450 Vario is a four-wheel drive vehicle with a stepless power-split hydrostatic-mechanical transmission and can be easily switched from tires to a crawler track and back as needed. The large surface area of the crawler track in particular minimizes the vehicle’s impact on the terrain — an advantage over tractors which is especially clear when the Transporter is used on ski slopes and snow-covered roads. The eVT 450 Vario’s useful load of up to 5 tonnes is unparalleled in the electric Transporter class. The vehicle can also be quickly fitted with a flatbed or a closed body depending on what is being transported.
Standardization and engineering service enable direct transition to e-mobility
The Aebi eVT 450 Vario’s electric drive draws on ecovolta technology. ecovolta’s patented battery design is based on innovation through standardization and makes it possible to electrify vehicles of all kinds. Until now, customized battery packs had to be developed for each individual vehicle type. This time-consuming work created added risks and meant that electric vehicle manufacturing was only profitable with high production runs. The evoTractionBattery from ecovolta, on the other hand, is already certified as a comprehensive solution and can be quickly put into operation.
Standardization cuts the costs per kilowatt hour of electricity stored, lowering the barriers to entry for companies looking to move into e-mobility. The capacity levels and electronics have been standardized along with some of the dimensions.
The evoTractionBattery is available with voltages from 24 to 96 V and capacities from 2.5 to 15 kWh. Up to 16 batteries can be connected in series as needed, or up to 32 strings in parallel, allowing battery voltages of between 24 and 829 V and total capacities of up to around 7,600 kWh.
First test phase yields impressive results
The Aebi eVT 450 Vario’s battery solution comprises 12 battery packs which each have 840 cells, offering a total energy capacity of 120 kWh. The transmission is impressively powerful at 80 kW.
The vehicle has the following key specifications:
- Engine power: 80 kW (throttled)
- Battery chemistry: NMC
- Battery storage: 120 kWh 12x10 kWh evoTractionBattery 48 V
- Voltage: 600 V
- Time to reach 80% charge: 4 hours
- Max. speed with crawler track: 25 km/h
- Max. speed with tires: 45 km/h
The performance results in field tests even slightly exceeded the expected levels in the first test phase, lasting two months. The Aebi eVT 450 Vario regularly and reliably performed its duties for 4 hours with no faults occurring. Recharging to 80 percent also takes 4 hours. As the eVT 450 Vario was fitted with a crawler track in the test phase, it can be expected to perform better still in the summer when used with tires. The drivers or transport workers are certainly satisfied, and both locals and visitors are pleased that the electric Transporters are almost noiseless. In particular, the lack of engine noise means guests can now enjoy the village’s wonderful garden terraces in peace.
“The eVT 450 will now undergo another phase of rigorous testing,” says Tobias Weissenrieder. Weissenrieder and his team already have experience with mechanical road sweepers — fully electric models will be entering series production this fall. “The strong results have exceeded our expectations and made us very optimistic. Now we want to test whether the vehicle will behave as we expect over longer periods of time,” says Weissenrieder.
ecovolta is a Swiss manufacturer of battery systems for electric vehicles and machines. Battery and drive solutions are developed and tested in the company's own research and development department. The range of services also includes contract development and system integration of battery systems.
ecovolta was founded in 2018 as a division of the technology company ecocoach AG and has its headquarters in Brunnen, where series production is also located.
Chief Operation Officer (COO)
About Aebi Schmidt Group
The Aebi Schmidt Group is a leading global provider of intelligent product systems and services for cleaning and sweeping business-critical traffic areas, and for maintaining green spaces in demanding terrain. Its comprehensive and innovative range includes vehicles, attachments to enable personalised vehicle outfitting, and a service program for customer-specific solutions. In 2018, the company achieved revenue of EUR 413 million. It employs around 2,000 people in 10 specialist centres and 15 local sales and service organisations around the world. The brand portfolio was streamlined in March 2019 and consists of the product brands Aebi, Schmidt, Nido, Meyer, Swenson and MB. Aebi Schmidt Holding AG is based in Frauenfeld, with a second site in Zurich.
About Stoosbahnen AG
Stoosbahnen AG manages a tourism business and is responsible for transport links to the mountain village of Stoos. This quaint destination in the heart of Switzerland’s oldest region is known for its modern mountain railway systems and well-preserved traditions, and welcomes daytrippers and holidaymakers all year round. Visitors can enjoy a range of activities including three chairlifts and, in winter, another three skilifts and a children’s ski area with two conveyor belts. The world’s steepest funicular, with a gradient of 110%, and spectacular views of Lake Lucerne and the historic Rütli meadow are among the area’s unmissable sights.