German electronics and software company, in-tech, has now founded an independent arm called e-troFit in order to retrofit diesel buses with electric drives in series production. The subsidiary is responsible for development, series production and sales.
As reported, the supplier ZF contributes the driveline components for the conversion from diesel to electric and offers access to its worldwide workshop network. A conversion kit for low-floor buses is now up for order. The first e-troFit vehicles are to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2019. Solutions for additional city buses and trucks will be announced for 2020.
“Right from the start, our development goal was a professional retrofit solution that is in no way inferior to a new electric vehicle,” says Andreas Hager, Managing Director of the newly founded e-troFit GmbH. “With the spin-off of the project into an independent subsidiary, we are ensuring that our development and production team can continue to concentrate 100% on e-troFit”. Hager was previously head of the in-tech New Mobility Solutions division and already supervised the e-troFit project at that time.
The first orders have already been received and interest from municipal and private operators is high: “We have a large number of enquiries from operators all over the world,” says Hager.
With the AxTrax AVE electric portal axle and the CeTrax central drive, ZF not only supplies the right products but also makes specialist knowledge and workshop capacities available and functions as a trading and service partner. According to ZF, both components can be installed directly into the existing vehicle platform without having to make major changes to the chassis, axles, or differential.
The CeTrax central drive has a peak output of 300 kW and 4,500 Nm and can be combined with direct drive axles, as well as low-floor axles – covering both low-entry buses and low-floor buses of all sizes. The AxTrax AVE electric portal axle is suitable, according to the Friedrichshafen-based German company, for a wide variety of city bus drive types “whether serial hybrid, all-electric drive with fuel cell or battery, or fed from the overhead line”. The drive per wheel is provided by a compact asynchronous motor so that the axle weight including the integrated motors remains low. ZF specifies the maximum engine power at 250 kW and 22,000 Nm.