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Wiehl is the first city in Germany to use BPW’s innovative electric axle drive eTransport. Mayor Ulrich Stücker accepted the converted Mercedes Benz Vario from BPW’s personally liable managing partner Michael Pfeiffer (left)
Wiehl is the first city in Germany to use BPW’s innovative electric axle drive eTransport. Mayor Ulrich Stücker accepted the converted Mercedes Benz Vario from BPW’s personally liable managing partner Michael Pfeiffer (left)

Press release -

Wiehl is set to become the first city in Germany to put a van with an electrically converted motor axle supplied by BPW into operation

  • Diesel's out, electric axles are in: for the very first time, an electrically-powered Mercedes van is being used by the city of Wiehl in the Bergisches Land
  • Michael Pfeiffer said: “The fact that we handed over the vehicle even before the retrofit was carried out on the production line really shows our commitment to the region”
  • Mayor Ulrich Stücker said: “BPW is making a huge contribution to the future of the city of Wiehl”
  • The future is based on our heritage: it was the topography of the Bergisches Land that inspired the exceptional efficiency of the BPW drive

Wiehl, 10.09.2018 --- In the Bavarian city of Vilshofen, the vehicle manufacturer Paul Nutzfahrzeuge is currently preparing for the standard conversion of municipal commercial vehicles on the production line to turn them into electric vehicles. The city of Wiehl is located in the Bergisches Land in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). It was there that Mayor Ulrich Stücker accepted the first Mercedes Benz Vario equipped with BPW’s electric motor axle eTransport on Thursday, 6th September 2018.

The first emission-free municipal van equipped with the electric BPW drive eTransport will serve the city of Wiehl in a great variety of ways in the future. It will be used for purposes from clearing up rubbish right through to gardening and landscaping work. It can even be used for real heavyweight tasks, as the motor axle can take a total permitted weight of 7.5 tonnes. This sets it apart considerably from the drive concepts provided by other manufacturers and suppliers, as they are only designed to take a total weight of 2 to 3.5 tonnes. A powerful torque of 6,580 newton metres enables BPW's electric Vario to tackle steep loading docks and mountain roads with the greatest of ease. Minster-President Armin Laschet himself took the vehicle for a test drive and he knew exactly why this was the case. He said: “If this vehicle can handle being driven in the Bergisches Land, it can handle the terrain anywhere”.

Conversion from a diesel to electric drive will take only two weeks and it will be available from the start of 2019. BPW technicians took it upon themselves to pre-empt this for their own home town. The vehicle is not any heavier in spite of the battery weight, as the diesel, gears, transmission shaft and emission controls have been completely removed. Its range is approximately 100 kilometres.

Michael Pfeiffer, Achim Kotz and Markus Schell are the personally liable managing partners of BPW. They were the ones who presented the vehicle to the municipal representatives and they were quick to emphasise the fact that home and high-tech are two concepts that belong together.

The managing partners are particularly proud of the young team who work in the new electromobility business area. BPW recruited some of the members of this team from the company’s own talent programme. Michael Pfeiffer said: “BPW turned 120 years old this year – but our company today is younger, more inquisitive and more dynamic than ever before. Our employees are enthralled by the possibilities afforded by the new technologies and by the innovative working and development methods that we have adopted from successful start-up companies. At the same time, we remain as loyal to our identity as a family-owned company as to our region. BPW sees home and high-tech as two concepts that belong together”.

Mayor Ulrich Stücker emphasised BPW’s commitment to both the environment and to society as a whole. For many years now, BPW has been generating part of the energy it uses from solar power and from hydropower. Last year, the company switched over completely to drawing its energy from renewable, CO2-neutral sources, the origins of which can be traced and proven. This makes the company unique in the region. On top of that, BPW goes above and beyond its duty as the largest employer in the region to assist the people of the Bergisches Land. Ulrich Stücker also said: “BPW has proven that innovation and integrity are not mutually exclusive concepts. The company has developed into one of the innovative leaders in the commercial vehicle industry and it is laying an important foundation for the future - from electromobility to the Internet of Things. We are proud to be the first city to use BPW's innovative electric drive eTransport - it gives diesel vehicles a new lease of life, one that is totally free of emissions”.

The electrical conversion is an interesting subject for local authorities, as they currently use a number of special vehicles with a diesel drive. These are technically difficult to maintain and are therefore expensive to run. From snow plows right up to personnel carriers for the fire service, they have generally been in service for many years, but they are miles behind in terms of technology. This driving profile makes them predestined for electrical retrofitting - assuming of course that a product as powerful as eTransport is fitted. Retrofitting the vehicles with an electric motor axle from BPW enables local authorities to continue using these vehicles in spite of an impending diesel ban.

At the IAA (20th - 27th September in Hanover, Hall 26, Stand C31), BPW will present the concept for an even stronger axle-integrated drive that enables commercial vehicles to weigh up to a permitted maximum of 26 tonnes.

At the same time, the company is holding talks with vehicle manufacturers regarding the development of new vehicles. This should make innovative vehicle concepts possible. 



About BPW Bergische Achsen KG
BPW Bergische Achsen KG is the parent company of the BPW Group. With more than 1,600 employees, including around 120 trainees, the family-run company has been developing and producing complete running gear systems for truck trailers and semi-trailers at its headquarters in Wiehl since 1898. BPW’s technologies include axle systems, brake technology, suspension and bearings. BPW’s trailer axles and running gear systems are in use in millions of vehicles around the world. An extensive range of services also provides vehicle manufacturers and vehicle operators with the opportunity to increase economic efficiency in their production and transport processes.

About the BPW Group
The BPW Group, based in Wiehl, Germany, is a dependable international mobility and system partner for the transport industry, serving as a one-stop shop for innovative solutions. Its portfolio embraces axles, suspension systems and brake technologies (BPW), locking systems and bodywork technology (Hestal), lighting systems (Ermax), composite technologies (HBN-Teknik), and user-friendly telematics applications for trucks and trailers (idem telematics). BPW Group’s technologies and services support manufacturers’ cost-effective workflows and enable vehicle operators to manage their fleets efficiently by maximising the transparency of loading and transport processes. The owner-managed BPW Group encompasses 70 companies worldwide and employs around 7,000 people.

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