The Volkswagen e-Crafter is a near-production concept for an electric vehicle for hauling goods around European cities.

Like rival Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen is debuting an electric hauler for city-center deliveries at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hannover, Germany. However, VW actually plans to produce the e-Crafter in 2017, and the one on display is a near-production concept.

The e-Crafter in Hannover makes deliveries thanks to an electric motor with 134 horsepower (100 kilowatts) and 214 pound-feet of torque (290 Newton-meters). Under the cargo floor, there’s a 43-kilowatt-hour battery, which initially seems somewhat small for the job. For example, the lowest capacity current Tesla Model S and the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt have 60 kWh packs. However, VW claims the e-Crafter offers a 129-mile (208-kilometer) range. Production models might eventually drive even farther because the automaker says future developments could push the maximum distance to 248.5 miles (400 km).

By placing the electric powertrain under the cargo floor, there are no changes to the interior dimensions. Companies can still haul 399 cubic feet (11.3 cubic meters) of stuff inside. The max payload of 3,750 pounds (1.7 metric tons) is enough for carrying plenty of boxes, too.

The e-Crafter concept should catch attendees’ eyes in Hannover with its special Reef Blue Metallic. The deep color is also on the bumpers and side strips. A subtle blue bar also runs through the grille. VW also upgrades the front end with C-shaped daytime running lights. The company doesn’t offer any images of the interior, but there are a few tweaks in there, too. For example, a power meter replaces the tachometer in the instrument cluster. The concept gets a leather steering wheel, and there’s blue trim decorating the cabin.

Volkswagen doesn’t offer any specific details about what the production e-Crafter might cost when it debuts next year. The electric powertrain would likely come at a premium over the current range of diesel engines, though. Vehicles like this one and the Mercedes Urban eTruck concept hint that green drivetrains could be the future of making deliveries in Europe.

Source: Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

Gallery: Volkswagen e-Crafter Concept

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The highlight of this year’s IAA Commercial Vehicles: the new e-Crafter

World premiere of the first electrically powered Crafter
Concept vehicle demonstrates near production-ready solution for zero emission city centre delivery traffic
Unimpaired cargo capacity
Loads of up to 1.7 tonnes
Range of over 200 kilometres
First vehicles in use in 2017

Hanover, 21 September 2016 - At this year's IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hanover, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is presenting the prototype of the new e-Crafter, a fully thought-out concept for zero emission city centre delivery traffic.

From the very first designs for the new Crafter electric power was incorporated into the plans as a drive system variant, as touched upon by Dr Eckhard Scholz, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, when commenting on the quick creation of the concept vehicle: “The first e-Crafter vehicles will already be in customers’ hands by 2017."

The character of the new Crafter has not been changed by the electric drive system. The concept vehicle continues to offer robust inner qualities, such as outstanding payload capacity, ideal cargo space of 11.3 cubic metres and a maximum cargo space height of 1,961 millimetres. The load width available between the wheel arches is 1,380 mm and the maximum cargo space length is 4,855 mm, thus meaning no changes to the overall dimensions.

With a permitted total weight of 4.25 tonnes the roadworthy concept vehicle is accelerated by the 100-kilowatt electric motor up to the maximum permitted speed of 80 km/h. Both urban motorway and inter-urban journeys are thus no problem. Thanks to maximum torque of 290 Newton metres, which is effectively available without any delay, appropriate performance levels are a piece of cake even with a maximum load of 1,709 kilograms.

The concept vehicle's battery pack, which is made up of 312 cells and has a total capacity of 43 kilowatt hours, is accommodated in space-saving fashion under the cargo space floor. The cargo space capacity thus remains unchanged. Depending on vehicle configuration, the battery unit enables a range of more than 200 kilometres. Subject to sufficient charging current capacity, the batteries can also be charged back up to 80 per cent in 45 minutes.
The e-Crafter's design already takes into account future battery developments, with which – depending on customer requirements and specification – freely configurable ranges of up to 400 kilometres become possible.
These are very interesting prospects for many industries, not just those operating on city centre roads.

The new e-Crafter concept vehicle sets itself apart from the diesel versions through special Reef Blue Metallic paintwork, matching painted bumpers and protective side strips and a blue bar on the radiator grille. The silent Crafter can also be recognised from the front by the signature C-shape of the daytime running lights, the typical identifying feature of Volkswagen electric vehicles.
The cockpit differs from the diesel versions in that it has a 'power meter' in place of a rev counter, a leather steering wheel with blue decorative stitching and titanium black seats with blue trim.

The cargo space is already appropriately equipped for the challenges of tomorrow, that the courier services sector in particular is set to face. The cargo floor elements, including ProSafe load-lashing system, Flex-Rack set-up and Globelyst shelving system, come from upgrade specialists Sortimo. The concept vehicle being shown at the IAA has additionally been given a service station, in which replacement batteries for these special cargo e-bikes can be stored and charged.

The e-Crafter concept vehicle's technical data (IAA 2016):

Drive system: Electric motor
Power output: 100 kW
Torque: 290 Nm
Battery: Lithium-ion (26 x 12 cells)
43 kWh
384 V
Charging time: 45 min (at 40 kW DC)
Perm. total weight: 4,250 kg
Top speed: 80 km/h
Range: 208 km
EC kerb weight: 2,541 kg
Load: 1,709 kg
Cargo space capacity: 11.3 m3