"SeLv": PEM Presents Fuel Cell-Capable Heavy-Duty E-Truck


The chair "Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components" (PEM) of RWTH Aachen University has unveiled the first road-ready prototype of a heavy-duty electric truck that will be equipped with a fuel cell to extend its range. The vehicle is being developed as part of the "SeLv" research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport with around 16.9 million euros and has now been presented for the first time at the renowned "Electromobility Week" and the 10th "Electromobile Production Days" (EPT) in Aachen. In the next stage of development, the fuel cell and the tank system are to be implemented.

  The first road-ready prototype of a heavy-duty e-truck in the SeLv project Copyright: © PEM RWTH Aachen University | Patrizia Cacciotti

The range of the e-truck is expected to exceed 1,000 kilometers in the future thanks to predictive energy management that significantly increases efficiency. "We are pursuing a holistic approach that makes it child's play to automatically organize all routes, including fuel stops and breaks, by entering the destination," says project manager Fabian Schmitt. This is ensured, he says, by a networked, permanently updatable system that is connected to the freight forwarder and provides an operating solution for the driving personnel based on the "Android Automotive OS" platform. "Fast 'refueling' keeps logistics operations running at their best," says Schmitt. In the future, the project is to be continued and industrialized by the company "moion GmbH," which emerged from the PEM chair. In the future, the RWTH spin-off will act as a supplier of the truck conversions and the "powertrain kit" required for this.

  The first road-ready prototype of a heavy-duty e-truck in the SeLv project Copyright: © PEM RWTH Aachen University

"Electrification of heavy-duty transport remains a major challenge for climate protection," says PEM Director Professor Achim Kampker: While 20 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in Germany are attributable to the traffic and transport sector, 35 percent of these are specifically attributable to heavy-duty and commercial vehicles. "To meet the high energy demand of heavy trucks and realize locally emission-free long-distance transport, we need to exploit the technological advantages of fuel cells," Kampker says: "This requires not only fleet renewal but also the electrification of the many existing vehicles."

Behind the "SeLv" project is the effort to achieve "emission-free logistics in heavy-duty transport by means of an electrification kit and an economical production system." The aim of the research project is to develop a modular electric powertrain with fuel cell range extender for commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 41 tons. The powertrain, which can be adapted to individual requirements, is to be just as suitable for retrofit solutions as for new vehicles.

Further information on the project can be found here. The video below can also be seen on YouTube in full HD resolution.

SeLv Prototype 1