Electrification in the municipal vehicle industry

There is a clear trend towards electrification in the field of municipal vehicles. Step by step, the municipal vehicle is becoming an electric municipal machine. 

In order to make progress, a standardized charging interface is of great advantage. In the automotive sector, for example, the European CCS or the Japanese CHAdeMO interfaces can be found as cross-manufacturer systems. In the field of municipal machinery, the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) is pushing ahead with such a cross-manufacturer interface. 

In the future, municipal vehicles such as tractors and implement carriers will have a charging interface on board in addition to hydraulics and the power take-off shaft (PTO). 

In any case, mechanical drive via the PTO has certain disadvantages that could easily be solved with electric drives. Not only does it require a lot of space, but the travel speed and drive speed of the equipment are also coupled via the PTO. For example, to achieve the necessary speed for a mower, the traction drive must be reduced via gears, which reduces efficiency. With the electric municipal vehicle, these two drives can be kept independently and efficiently in their optimum ranges. 

For this reason, hybrid models are currently available on the market. These operate electrically with the advantages just mentioned, but with a conventional diesel engine on board. This serves purely as a generator and supplies the power for the electrical consumers. This avoids the problem of insufficient charging infrastructure, especially in the field. As is known from hybrid cars, the batteries are also charged when braking or driving downhill. 

But there are other advantages, especially for multi-purpose equipment carriers or single-purpose equipment such as (road) sweepers, smaller winter maintenance vehicles and the like. Unlike tractors, in fact, these are often used in residential areas, and even indoors, depending on the intended application. Noise and exhaust emissions play an important role here. As far as noise levels are concerned, the electric municipal vehicle is far ahead of the conventional diesel. The difference is even clearer when it comes to exhaust emissions. Here, the electric vehicle can boast “zero emissions,” at least at the point of use.