Following the trend of smaller, lighter electric vehicles, a new working prototype of a "revolutionary" electric delivery vehicle has just been unveiled by the University of Warwick.
Although fast, heavy, and expensive electric cars tend to get all the media love right now, perhaps because what many people want is something that looks just like a gas car but has an electric drivetrain, the move toward a cleaner transport system might happen a lot quicker thanks to the adoption of more electric vehicles in the commercial sector, especially smaller utility vehicles. Considering the number of gas- and diesel-powered delivery, service, and courier vehicles currently on the streets of cities around the world, which contribute significant amounts of noise, air pollution, and carbon emissions, switching over to electrified vehicles can offer a cleaner, quieter, lower-carbon alternative.
We've covered a number of options for electric mobility recently, including electric passenger buses, electric delivery vehicles, e-bike delivery programs, mail trucks, electric tuk-tuks, and more, but there may be another potential option for cleaner deliveries in the near future, and one with an appropriate, and cutesy, name to it.
The DELIVER-E vehicle, which is currently a working prototype (a "technology demonstrator"), is based on the electric vehicle platform of the Renault Twizy, which was also recently released as the "first open-source mass market vehicle platform." According to the University of Warwick, this new lightweight delivery vehicle could help companies better deal with the "demands of an ever-growing shift to online shopping," because it is "ideal for navigating urban environments." The DELIVER-E isn't a future production vehicle, but is instead designed as "a public showcase" for technologies developed through the University's WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group) department, and enabling WMG to put the results of its various research programs to work "in a real, driveable vehicle."
Although based on a Renault Twizy, the DELIVER-E features a more powerful 48V 6.5kWh battery system designed at WMG, which is said to be both lightweight and better suited to the frequent stop-and-start nature of delivery driving, as well as the need to haul an increased payload and have a longer range per charge. The battery system for the vehicle is the first of its kind built by WMG at a new automated production line for electric vehicle batteries, which itself is part of a larger effort to create a supply chain for "fully qualified battery packs to suit hybrid and electric vehicles" in the UK, under what is dubbed the Automated Module-to-Pack Pilot Line for Industrial Innovation (AMPLiFII) project.
The DELIVER-E integrates WMG-developed powertrain and control features, but was taken from the original concept to a functional prototype in an "intensive ten week collaborative project" between WMG and the design firm of Astheimer Ltd. The vehicle features an original body and exterior design that offers an enlarged rear cargo area specifically for delivery items, and programmable LED strips that can serve as brake lights and turn signals. The vehicle's controls are based on an open-platform vehicle control system, which can allow for the development and adoption of custom applications, and incorporates a touchscreen "Human-Machine Interface."
Don't expect to see the DELIVER-E zooming around your neighborhood just yet, as it's a research vehicle and a mobile showcase of WMG technology for use at events, but vehicles like this one, which can help clean up last-mile delivery transport, could very well be coming soon as a core e-mobility component in cities of the near future.