PEM Puts Hall for E-Truck Research Into Operation


The chair of "Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components" (PEM) of RWTH Aachen University has put a hall into operation for several research projects on electrified commercial vehicles. On 575 square meters at Rotter Bruch in Aachen, the teams of the federally funded large-scale projects SeLv, LiVe, and LiVePlus will deal with the heavy-duty mobility of the future under one roof. "The physical proximity in prototype research enables us to achieve important synergy effects," says Konstantin Sasse, group leader "Battery Engineering" at PEM.

  Sebastian Biegler (right) and Konstantin Sasse from PEM in front of the new hall Copyright: © PEM RWTH Aachen Standing for research into heavy-duty transport of the future: Sebastian Biegler (right) and Konstantin Sasse from PEM at RWTH Aachen University.

In the three research projects, the PEM experts are building a total of ten trucks of different weight classes and vehicle types. "We are not limiting ourselves to just one technology when it comes to the powertrain, but are looking at battery, pantograph, and fuel cells," explains "LiVePLuS" manager Sebastian Biegler. "With a combination of the different technologies, we are developing electric truck powertrains based on the modular principle that are economically viable and can be individually designed."

Production planning for small batches

To ensure that the prototypes are not only allowed to drive on closed-off terrain, the "SeLv" and "LiVePLuS" projects provide for individual operating permits. "For this, the complete approval process is run through and accepted by an independent testing institute," explains Biegler. In this way, feasible and realistic concepts will be researched and, in the process, production planning for small series will be developed. "Which technology will ultimately prevail will become apparent in the coming years and also depends on external factors such as infrastructure," Biegler emphasizes. "However, we are already researching what possibilities there are."

BMU and BMVI support the research

Two of the projects are funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU): "Life cycle cost reduction in electric distribution transport through individually adaptable powertrains" ("LiVe") will run until the end of 2022; "Life cycle cost reduction in electric distribution transport through pantograph-based modular systems for trucks and tractor-trailers" ("LiVePLuS") is scheduled to run until the end of July 2022. The project "Heavy-duty trucks for zero-emission logistics in heavy-duty transport by means of electrification construction kit and economical production system" ("SeLv") is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) with almost 17 million euros and will end in October 2023.