Batteries from Webasto power innovative E-Shuttle

The demand for battery-powered mobility solutions for local public transport is increasing, particularly in metropolitan areas

Electric, flexible, innovative: French trucking company Lohr Industries will be launching the fully electric and modular “Cristal” shuttle system in four cities in France before the end of 2021. The vehicles will be powered by batteries from Webasto, one of the world’s 100 largest automotive suppliers. Some German cities have also already signaled their interest.

During rush hour periods, the “Cristal” will be used in so-called shuttle mode, with two to four vehicles coupled together under the guidance of a professional driver. This allows up to 64 people to be transported at speeds approaching 31 miles per hour. Coupling and uncoupling the shuttles is a simple, automated process which takes less than a minute.

Outside of peak hours, or for alternative on-demand transport applications, the “Cristal” can also be used as an individual vehicle to cover the so-called last mile. In France, a valid car driver’s license is all that is required for this.

Batteries from Webasto’s Schierling plant

In the search for a suitable partner to provide the drive batteries for the “Cristal”, the choice quickly fell on Webasto. After all, the roof and parking heater specialist has – within just a few years – also made a name for itself as a leading system provider in the electromobility segment. The Webasto plant in Schierling houses one of the most modern battery system production plants – the highly flexible multi-product-line, which is capable of producing up to 40,000 batteries a year.

Two batteries with a combined output of 70 kilowatts are used for each “Cristal” vehicle. The range is around 75 miles. The vehicles are charged either at a central depot or at specific stops along the drivers’ route that have access to a power supply. The on-board rapid charging system delivers a half charge in 30 minutes and a full charge in 90 minutes.

“The idea was to provide a flexible and environmentally friendly mobility solution for public transport applications”, explains Jean-François Argence, director of the Lohr Group’s “New Mobilities” division. “Webasto’s battery system precisely meets our needs and requirements in terms of quality, design and price.”

“The standard battery system gives our customers the best of both worlds: They benefit on the one hand from the price and quality advantages of a standardized product and, on the other, from the precise fit of a customized solution. Together with our partner Lohr, we have achieved another key element in the future of electromobility”, explains Heike Niehues, who is responsible for the global industrial customer and aftermarket business at Webasto.

Some 20 vehicles will be delivered to the cities of Avignon, Orange, Ajaccio and are scheduled to take to the roads there for the first time before the end of the year. Lohr is also in close contact with representatives of German municipalities regarding the possible use of the “Cristal”.

SOURCE: Webasto

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