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Deutz's hybrid concept, shown at Intermat in April, consists of a 2.9-L Stage-V TCD engine and an electric motor, plus power electronics and a Li-ion battery pack. (image: Ryan Gehm)

Deutz advances ‘E’ strategy—prototypes on the horizon

Deutz previously had indicated that alternative drives will play an increasingly important role in its core segments in the future. Taking the next step in that direction, the German engine maker revealed its first electrified off-highway drive solution at Intermat this past spring. Modularity and scalability are two main features of the E-Deutz hybrid concept, which at least initially is designed for low- to mid-load applications such as material handling equipment. Dr. Frank Hiller, Chairman of the Board of Management, and Michael Wellenzohn, member of the board responsible for sales/marketing and service, recently provided more details about the company’s next steps into the electrification arena.

How has your electrification strategy been progressing?
Hiller: We acquired Torqeedo [a Munich-based company that provides components, software and system-integration expertise for electric and hybrid drives in boats] last year, and this was the catalyst for our electrification activities. Now the intention is really to move fast forward. We have installed common working groups between Torqeedo and Deutz; we take care about the applications in our off-road business. So intelligent transfer of technology has already started, and we have a lot of teams in place. We [expect to reveal] the first prototypes in autumn of this year.

What applications are you targeting with these prototypes?
Hiller: One is a hybrid prototype, going into a telehandler. We are also working on a full electric solution…We see the biggest potential in hybrid solutions; full electric might be some niche applications—therefore, we are investigating together with our customers on the load cycles and so on.

Wellenzohn: We are looking into applications right now which have low load up to mid load and which have a certain autonomy request. Diesel will still remain on high utilization and high autonomy demands [e.g., in rough terrain where there’s very little infrastructure]. So for example, a telehandler or an aerial work platform is a low-load application—an aerial work platform is idling the whole day and has a very low load. For such drives, electrification is key. Here we have a TCO immediately, or with a reasonable payback time.

Hiller: We see considerable reduction in overall operating costs, and the potential to reduce the total cost of ownership [TCO]…Amortization depends on the load case of the application, but we see some load cases where we can have the amortization within just one year.

Can you provide details of the hybrid concept?
Hiller: It’s a 110-kW system, with 55 kW coming from the combustion engine—a 2.9-L Stage-V TCD engine—and an electric motor also providing 55 kW. This is combined with power electronics, a lithium-ion battery package with [a capacity of] 44 kW·h at 400 volts, and a transmission with decoupler [that enables pure electric operation]. We also have a stop-start function and electric power takeoff…This is a modular concept based on 48-V and 400-V, and it can be used for mechanical drive, hydraulic power and pure electric. We will come up with hybrid solutions, mainly in the field of sub-4.0-L engines [paired] with electric systems I’d say below 20 kW.

When and where will these electrified systems hit the market?
Hiller: We see it as in a timeline within the next two years to come up with the first solutions on the market. We are having a lot of discussions with our customers. This is not only concentrating on Europe; this is international. We are focusing on customers and they are building out machines for different markets. It depends on which customer is choosing and where they’re selling. Continue reading »