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The future of commercial vehicles – HEGLA Fahrzeugbau develops an exterior rack for electric vehicles

Vehicles that deliver windows, structural elements and glass require a high load capacity and large load volume. For a long time, it was unimaginable that the requirements for load capacity and range of electric vehicles could be reconciled for the commercial sector. But we are now seeing signs of a trend toward electromobility (e-mobility) – in the lightweight commercial vehicle market in particular.

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Ever more models – such as the Renault Kangoo E-Tech – are being launched with an alternative drive. Government funding and improved battery capacity have made electric commercial vehicles more attractive and they are becoming an interesting alternative for commerce and the trades.

Maximised range despite transport attachment

At its three German locations, HEGLA Fahrzeugbau has offered industry solutions for transporting glass and structural elements for over 40 years. “As market leaders, we want to contribute to increasing electric vehicle usefulness to the maximum and avoid negatively affecting their range with our attachments,” said Head of Sales and Development Marc-Alexander Stachel from HEGLA Fahrzeugbau. The consequence: the development of a special exterior rack for electric vehicles that is now around 20% lighter when empty and can be removed in fewer steps to save even more energy in everyday use. In conjunction with aluminium construction, these properties lead to a lower attachment tare weight and increase vehicle usefulness as much as possible.

Proven HEGLA rack in aluminium quality

Exterior racks continue to be fitted as standard on vehicles with electric drives that are used to deliver and install glass, structural elements, and other extra-large items. Thanks to the use of the weight-optimised aluminium exterior rack, the load capacity remains virtually the same. “Another advantage of aluminium with a protective alloy is that it cannot corrode. Special torsion-resistant HEGLA profiles lend the rack the accustomed stability and load capacity,” explained Marc-Alexander Stachel.

Electric and innovative, travelling in inner-city traffic

When it comes to range, it doesn’t matter whether a delivery truck or van is chosen to complete day-to-day tasks. Larger vehicles compensate for any disadvantage caused by their tare weight thanks to more space for a larger battery. For example, the fully electric Volkswagen e-Crafter combines high load capacity and excellent range with unlimited storage space, making it the perfect choice for inner-city deliveries. Equipped with a HEGLA exterior rack, the vehicle already satisfies tomorrow’s requirements today: electric, innovative and perfectly equipped for professional glass and window transport. Electric vehicles are eye-catching in delivery traffic and can contribute to the company’s positive image.

Three questions for Marc-Alexander Stachel, HEGLA Fahrzeugbau Satteldorf, on e-mobility for the trades

Mr Stachel, total vehicle weight plays an important role in terms of range and load capacity. Which equipment do you recommend to your customers?

“When selecting vehicle equipment, we work closely with manufacturers and dealerships. Not all supplementary equipment is suitable for conversion to a glass-industry vehicle. That depends less on the range and load capacity. In this case, we need to be aware of assistance systems in particular, since when they are active, they can lead to malfunctions in vehicle systems in conjunction with an attachment.”

E-mobility has now extended the spectrum of drives. What do you make of natural gas and hydrogen? Have you already completed conversions for them?

“Natural gas has been on the market for some time now and yes, HEGLA has already made attachments for such vehicles. Right now, hydrogen drives for small commercial vehicles are still being tested and their availability is limited. There is no full-coverage infrastructure for filling vehicle tanks. As market leaders, our aim is to react quickly to changes and always provide our customers with a solution irrespective of the type of vehicle drive.”

Are there any specific sectors among your customers where e-mobility is seeing higher demand?

“No, we receive enquiries from all customer sectors. In Germany, there are fewer enquiries compared with abroad. Here, we are currently receiving more orders for electric vans. The jury is still out as to how vehicle manufacturers and legislators position themselves with regard to alternative drives for commercial vehicles in future.”

Press officer:

HEGLA Fahrzeugbau GmbH & Co. KG
74589 Satteldorf, Germany

Carsten Koch

Tel: + 49 (0) 52 73 / 9 05-121
Email: carsten.koch(at)hegla.de 

ecrafter kombination hegla außenreff

Image 1: E-mobility is increasingly appealing for commerce and the trades as a result of state funding and improved battery capacity.

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Image 2: To specifically meet the requirements of electric vehicles, HEGLA Fahrzeugbau has developed a weight-optimised, torsion-resistant aluminium rack that matches the stability and load capacity of a conventional rack.