Hymer unveils prototype electric vehicle at Hannover

  • 27-Oct-2008 10:24 EDT
Hanover show 2008 - 08.jpg

The Hymer Teamo boat chassis construction incorporates a simple aluminum spaceframe and a sandwich floor housing the electric drivetrain. (John Kendall)

Better known as a producer of motorhomes in Europe, German manufacturer Hymer unveiled a prototype electrically powered light cargo van at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hannover, Germany. Designed around what the company refers to as a boat chassis, the spaceframe construction would accommodate the complete electric drivetrain beneath the sandwich floor toward the rear of the chassis. The lightweight chassis is designed to accept a number of bodywork options including a cargo van and passenger car.

Named Teamo for True Electric Auto Mobility, the concept is constructed using aluminum profiles and a thermoplastic sandwich construction—chosen to provide a lightweight construction strong enough to offer good impact resistance at reasonable cost for low-volume production.

The Teamo consists of the boat-shaped chassis structure made up from circular, multiple-chamber aluminum profiles. All-round roll bars in the A-, B-, and C-pillar areas make up the simple spaceframe construction. Hymer claims that with the front and rear crash boxes, this setup allows for some 75% of crash safety requirements.

The company claims that it offers 3.0 m3 (106 ft3) of load space volume as a cargo van. A further 200 L (7.0 ft3) of storage space is provided at the front, beneath the hood. Exterior dimensions show an overall length of 4000 mm (157.5 in) and a height of 1720 mm (67.7 in). The design includes a low-height slide-out loading floor.

Hymer quotes an approximate mass for the vehicle with cargo van body of around 1000 kg (2205 lb), offering a payload of approximately 600 kg (1320 lb). The bare chassis has a mass of approximately 500 to 700 kg (1100 to 1540 lb), depending on battery requirements.

The prototype on display was based on a wheelbase of 2700 mm (106.3 in), but Hymer envisages a wheelbase range between 2400 and 2800 mm (94.5 and 110.2 in) as required. Partners for technology include Alcoa Automotive, Continental, Hella, Formtec, IAV, Strähle and Hess, and Taracell. The prototype on display at the show was produced by specialist model maker Berner-Proceda based near Stuttgart, Germany.

Using Li-ion batteries, Hymer estimates that the vehicle would have a range of 120 to 150 km (75 to 93 mi). Hybrid and fuel-cell power are also considered in the driveline, in the shape of twin-cylinder internal combustion or fuel-cell range-extending power sources. Rear suspension is by self-leveling air springs, while the company expects power to come from an electric motor of approximately 50 kW.

The bodywork contains a roof module of fiber-reinforced plastic, incorporating parking lamps and integrated sun visors. Other features include a split side door and tailgate. Body panels are produced from recycled thermo-molded sections and heavy-duty elastic paneling for relatively low-cost damage replacement parts.

The design team was led by Hymer Managing Director Johann Tomforde, who was involved in electric City Car projects at Daimler Benz in the early 1970s. Professor Tomforde was the project leader for the Mercedes City Car in the early 1990s, conceived before Mercedes-Benz' involvement with the Smart project.

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