COLOGNE, GERMANY – Pure electric commercial vehicles are reliable and have wide potential for urban commercial use, according to interim findings of the colognE-mobil project.

ColognE-mobil – jointly sponsored by the city of Cologne, RheinEnergie AG, the University of Duisburg-Essen and Ford Motor Co. – since April 2010 has been testing a fleet of 10 Ford Transit BEVs and 10 Ford Transit Connect Electrics under real-life conditions in urban areas of Cologne. The vehicles are operated by several fleet customers in the delivery and service sector. Later this year an additional five Focus Electrics will join the test fleet.

The testing so far has encompassed 50,000km (31,000 miles) of real-world driving involving the usual day-to-day duties of commercial vehicles, such as carrying cargo and making deliveries in normal urban road conditions. The testing has also involved approximately 1,500 charges. The interim findings include:

  • Commercial EVs have wide potential for urban usage. The performance of the Transit BEV and Transit Connect Electric indicates that pure electric commercial vehicles are well suited for distribution, service and delivery in cities.
  • Driving range was more than adequate. Customers participating in the test typically drove between 25 and 70km per day, with the highest daily average in the fleet about 100km, well within the maximum range of 165km for the Transit BEV and 130km for the Transit Connect Electric).
  • Approximately 1,500 charging processes have been completed so far without issue. Most of this charging activity has taken place across the 12 facilities RheinEnergie installed at the work yards of the participating companies. Additionally, the public charging station installed in Cologne city center has been used more than 500 times
  • The average driving distance between two charging processes was 30km, highlighting that the widely discussed “range anxiety” may not be such an issue for typical urban use.
  • The project also revealed good news on CO2 emissions. The electric vehicles used in the colognE-mobile project – charged with renewable energy – provided a comparative 90 percent reduction on CO2 emissions on well-to-wheel emissions.

“The colognE-mobil project provides essential data and important feedback from fleet customers on our electric vehicles. While the results are overwhelmingly positive so far, they are still invaluable in helping us and our project partners to enhance ongoing development of e-mobility solutions,” said Roland Krüger, Ford of Europe project manager for colognE-mobil.

The University of Duisburg-Essen also conducted a computer simulation on the effects and possibilities of using electric-powered passenger cars in the Cologne area. Creating a virtual fleet of 30,000 electric cars, the consumption of electricity reached just 3.7 percent of the total comparative electricity demand of households in the area. With the average daily driving distance of a typical Cologne resident being 30km, the given range of electric cars is also suitable for everyday use, too.

Market research conducted by the university also showed that Cologne residents would be open to investing 25,000 Euros for a pure-electric vehicle; in areas with higher incomes, that amount goes up to 35,000 Euros.