As part of the BMDV-funded research project “SeLv”, a modular powertrain for trucks has been developed. The “Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components” (PEM) department of RWTH Aachen University presented different electric truck prototypes at the industrial fair of the “International ADAC Truck Grand Prix 2023” at Germany’s Nürburgring racetrack.

As one of about 60 exhibitors, the RWTH institute presented an e-truck with traction battery and fuel cell system from the “SeLv” research project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Transport in the “Innovation Camp” from July 13 to 16, 2023. In addition, the PEM team showed an electric truck with a trolley pantograph and a mobile fuel cell test stand from other current research projects.

Questions concerning practical feasibility
Over the course of four consecutive days, several hundred interested international visitors from various sectors had come to the PEM booth to learn about new technologies for commercial vehicles – from OEMs to suppliers, from freight forwarders to fleet operators, from freight carriers to motor sports. “Many questions revolved around the practical feasibility of our solutions,” says Fabian Schmitt, Head of “Zero Emission Trucks” at the RWTH department. For example, the first prototype from the “SeLv” project has now had its fuel cells and the corresponding tank system installed. Further modifications should mean that the second prototype can already achieve a range of 1,000 kilometers. “Some of the questions that both truck drivers and manufacturers have asked us will be incorporated into our projects,” says PEM Leader Professor Achim Kampker. The vehicles are all being developed with the goal of being officially tested and approved for road use.

Capacity configurable according to demand
In the “SeLv” project, the RWTH department is developing a modular powertrain for heavy-duty commercial vehicles based on the traction battery and fuel cell system components, the capacity of which can be configured as needed. The focus here, according to the institute, is on industrializing the production processes for the powertrain to retrofit existing vehicles and equip new trucks in order to achieve considerable cost advantages in manufacturing. “SeLv” is being funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport until the end of 2024 as part of the Mobility and Fuels Strategy (MFS) with around 16.9 million euros. The project is coordinated by NOW GmbH.

Image source: PEM RWTH Aachen | Patrizia Cacciotti