“The E-axle is a real powerhouse”

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Text: Juliane Gringer
Photos: Paul Nutzfahrzeuge

eTransport – the e-drive system from BPW – proved its strength in a special test: Paul Nutzfahrzeuge drove a converted Mercedes-Benz Vario with almost two tonnes of beer emission-free to the Großer Arber in the Bavarian Forest.

Can an electrically driven 7.5-tonne truck take a large load of beer to an altitude of 1,455 metres? Yes, it can! Paul Nutzfahrzeuge from Passau ventured this unusual transport: over some 20 kilometres of gravel roads, a special truck converted with the electrically driven axle eTransport from BPW Bergische Achsen was used to transport the beer. The vehicle mastered the route with flying colours despite a 24 per cent incline in some places – and delivered almost two tonnes of beer from the 1st Zwiesel Steam Beer Brewery to an inn with zero emissions. “We had confidence in the technology – but the fact that everything went so smoothly impressed me very much, to be honest,” reports Bernhard Wasner, Managing Director of Josef Paul GmbH & Co KG. “The E-axle is a real powerhouse. And our little project proves once again that new technology can also prove its worth under special challenges in practical use.”

Climate neutral in the Bavarian Forest Nature Park to supply beer: Paul Nutzfahrzeuge achieved this with a truck that was converted to an e-vehicle by the eTransport drive axle from BPW.

Climate neutral beer transport

The head of the brewery had approached Wasner: “He had read in the newspaper that we were retrofitting commercial vehicles with alternative drive systems and asked me if we could help him deliver his beer to the Großer Arber, the highest mountain in the Bavarian Forest, in a climate-neutral way.” The brewery regularly supplies the local excursion pub Arberschutzhaus with beer. It is located in the Bavarian Forest Nature Park, whose management attaches great importance to climate protection and CO2 reduction: In Germany’s oldest national park, for example, the country’s most modern mountain railway operates, and solar energy and hydroelectric power are the main sources of electricity. Emission-free supplier traffic would ideally complement this approach.

»We trusted the technology – but the fact that everything went so smoothly impressed me very much.«

Bernhard Wasner, Managing Director of Josef Paul GmbH & Co. KG

No loss of grip even on steep, stony paths

Bernhard Wasner liked the idea of transporting the load of beer electrically powered. He agreed spontaneously – and only then did he realise what a challenge lay ahead: “We simply did not know whether the vehicle would be able to make it up the steep mountain with such a heavy load and on an unpaved road,” he recalls. “The weather conditions were not ideal either, it was the beginning of November and already quite cold, with several sheets of ice along the way. At the same time, we thought that the steep climb on the last few metres in particular could be quite tricky. But we just tried it spontaneously and without much preparation.” Wasner himself sat behind the wheel to take the special transport up the narrow, steep forest road to the top of the hill. Even tight curves were no obstacle: “Everything worked perfectly, without any problems and without loss of grip.”
The Großer Arber is the highest mountain in the Bavarian Forest – the path there is steep up to 24 per cent. No problem for the electric truck, it has brought the beer delivery to the local excursion restaurant without any emissions.

Only 30 per cent battery charge consumed

Media representatives accompanied the trip, Bavarian television made a report and photographers took pictures. To do this, the Paul Managing Director had to drive a few special loops, stop and start again more often – this stop-and-go was also possible without any complications. At the finish line, the battery indicator, which had been fully charged at the start, was still at 70 per cent: “This meant that we even made it back to Zwiesel and then another 50 kilometres to our company headquarters without any further charging.”

Implementation in practice planned

Wasner draws an all-round positive conclusion. “I have to say: it is a great achievement of the BPW axle that you can dose the power so well in such a transport and that there are no disadvantages whatsoever. The product has not been designed for this type of application –but the fact that it masters them anyway is great! I was really fascinated by the fact that the electric axle eTransport can also master such extreme challenges.” He sees this as proof of the strong future viability of the technology. And for the fact that things are worth trying out: “That was a cool move! It also reminded me that you have to get out now and then and try unusual things.” For the Arberschutzhaus and the three other excursion venues in the Bavarian Forest, the successful test means that they may soon be able to supply emission-free goods: “We are in discussions and are trying to make this possible with the help of subsidies.” Wasner hopes that every “Cheers!” on the mountain might then be climate neutral as early as next year.

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