Emerald Automotive’s t-001 van was on show at this year’s Low Carbon Vehicle event at Millbrook. This panel van which uses similar technology to the Vauxhall Ampere (Chevvy Volt) looked the part, but the bad news is it is not likely to make it to these shores until 2015 at the earliest. Worse news is that the company behind the van will only sell directly to large fleets, as opposed to through a dealer network. They believe that the 10,000 sales per annum that they are looking for will come from the large fleets.
So how does it work and what is the business case? At the moment the van is fitted with a Ford 1.4 litre 67PS diesel which acts as a generator when the battery pack is deleted. This means that the van will keep going as long as you keep filling up the 28 litre diesel tank. No back to base problems here. Of course there is the regenerative braking and the ability to plug in a charge the van overnight, but the main difference is the payload. Emerald has taken so much weight out of the van that the payload is still an impressive 1,350kg at a VW of 3.5 tonnes. Whether the aluminium chassis and lightweight components will be able to stand the test of time remains to be seen. Maybe the mainstream manufacturers will look at the benefits of weight reduction a little more closely if this is the case.
Tags: hybrid vans