Schaeffler and ABT collaborate for electric light commercial vehicles

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 04 Dec 2019

Schaeffler Group and ABT e-Line have established a strategic collaboration for the electrification of light commercial vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tons. In this collaboration, ABT will contribute its implementation expertise and flexibility in vehicle retrofitting and Schaeffler will contribute its expertise in technology and manufacturing as well as its financial strength.

The Schaeffler Group, which has been doing pioneering work in Formula E in partnership with the ABT Group since 2014, will contribute its technological and  management expertise to the partnership and will develop and supply technological solutions for the electric powertrain.

In the initial phase, Schaeffler will be focusing together with VW and ABT on project management – from concept through to homologation – and on system supplier management. Schaeffler Engineering already develops electronic control systems for ABT e-Line for use in the conversion of light commercial vehicles from VW. The objective of the collaboration between the Schaeffler Group and ABT e-Line is to develop more advanced electric powertrains and to integrate and incorporate them into vehicles, focusing on light commercial and special vehicles. Furthermore, they also look to develop flexible mechatronic chassis solutions. In the medium term, the Schaeffler Group sees potential for further orders and for small and medium-sized production volumes in the commercial and special vehicle sectors.

Efforts to reduce vehicle emissions in urban areas are focusing heavily on light commercial vehicles, particularly where intra-urban traffic is concerned. What is more, manufacturers have to fulfill the regulatory upper limits for emissions in the light commercial vehicles segment separately – it is not possible to offset emission values against those of passenger car fleets. Schaeffler claims that the performance capability of today’s electric motors can now largely fulfill the typical requirement profiles for light commercial vehicles used in intra-urban applications.

With the demand for clean, efficient and economical mobility is rapidly increasing in metropolitan areas all over the world, this segment is gaining more importance in the modern mobility concepts, thus, offering major potential for establishing fully automated driving solutions.

Klaus Rosenfeld, CEO of Schaeffler, explained, “Following on from our trusting and successful partnership with the ABT Group in Formula E, we have now decided to work together in tackling the challenges of commercial vehicle electrification.”

Hans-Jurgen Abt, CEO of ABT Sportsline, said: “The collaboration with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles that we started one-and-a-half years ago is an ambitious project for ABT, and I am proud of the fact that we will soon be seeing the first electrified ABT vehicles on the road. Having Schaeffler as a strategic partner and thus having its technological expertise on board means we have a strong partnership to tackle the challenges of electrification.”

ABT e-Line is a 100-percent subsidiary of ABT Holding that, as a premium partner to Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, has been commissioned to fully electrify light commercial vehicles including the T6 and Caddy models; it also bears customer responsibility for the electric powertrain, including the warranty.