VW Reveals Electric ABT e-Transporter, e-Caddy, Crafter & More

SEP 21 2018 BY MARK KANE 16

Volkswagen electrifies most of its commercial lineup.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, besides the fancy I.D. BUZZ CARGO, presented at the IAA in Germany several other vehicles, including all-electric Caddy and Transporter, as well as a hydrogen Crafter and an electric bike.

Some of those models will enter the market next year, so let’s check them out one-by-one.

ABT Volkswagen e-Caddy

The ABT Volkswagen e-Caddy was developed in partnership with Abt e-Line and is scheduled for sale from mid-2019.

It’s equipped with 37.3 kWh for some 220 km (137 miles) of NEDC range, and 82 kW electric motor. The payload stands at 635 kg (4.2 m3). Charging is possible using 7.2 kW on-board charger or DC fast charger (up to 40 kW).

ABT Volkswagen e-Caddy

The electrically powered ABT e-Caddy will launch with zero emissions in 2019

  • New ABT e-Caddy will cover distances of up to 220 kilometres on a single battery charge
  • 120 km/h ABT e-Caddy is based on large Caddy Maxi and offers 4.2 m3 of cargo space

Hannover, 19 September 2018 – Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will launch the all-electric ABT e-Caddy into the market in mid-2019. The new zero-emission model is celebrating its world premiere at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover. With a range of up to 220 km (forecast NEDC figure), the ABT e-Caddy has been ideally tailored for urban use in European cities – for commercial uses of all kinds as well as personal use.

In Hannover, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is presenting the ABT e-Caddy in the form of an extremely spacious taxi for five people plus luggage. The drive system for the ABT e-Caddy was developed by ABT e-Line GmbH. The ABT e-Transporter concept vehicle, which is also being introduced in a world premiere at the IAA Commercial Vehicles, was also created in the framework of this strategic partnership with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

An 82-kW electric motor powers the front wheels of the ABT e‑Caddy, supplied with electricity via a lithium-ion battery with an energy capacity of 37.3 kWh. In this system, the flow of energy between the motor and battery is managed by power electronics. In the ABT e-Caddy, power is transmitted via an automatic single-speed gearbox. A fully discharged battery can be charged to 100 per cent in less than six hours at a charging power of up to 7.2 kW (e.g. at wallboxes). Using the quick charge method at 40 kW, the battery can be charged to 80 per cent capacity in just 49 minutes.

The 120-km/h ABT e-Caddy will launch as a Maxi with the long wheelbase (320 mm longer) and will be one of the most spacious electric vehicles in its class with a cargo volume of 4.2 m3. Its maximum payload is 635 kg. The ABT e-Caddy can be configured as a commercial vehicle in the form of the panel van (no windows at rear) and kombi (with rear windows) – or as a passenger carrying vehicle.”

ABT Volkswagen e-Transporter

The ABT Volkswagen e-Transporter also was developed in partnership with Abt e-Line, but there is no information on when we could expect sales to begin.

ABT prepared two battery options – 37.3 kWh for some 208 km (129 miles) or double pack 74.6 kWh for 400 km (250 miles). Higher range  cuts payload by 300 kg from 1,050 kg to 750 kg. Total weight of the vehicles is limited to 3,200 kg. Cargo space stands at 6.7 m3.

The same two charging options are available in e-Transporter, as in e-Caddy: 7.2 kW on-board charger or DC fast charger (up to 40 kW)

ABT Volkswagen e-Transporter

Electric ABT e-Transporter offers a first glimpse of the future of the best-selling “T6”

  • All-electric ABT e-Transporter makes its debut as a taxi concept at the IAA Commercial Vehicles
  • Two different battery sizes enable ranges from 208 to 400 kilometres (NEDC)

Hannover, 19 September 2018 – At the IAA 2018, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is taking the successful “T6” generation of Transporters into the electric era with the world premiere of the ABT e-Transporter. The zero-emission all-round vehicle is still a concept vehicle – both technically and visually. But within a year, the concept car could become a production model. At the IAA, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is presenting the ABT e‑Transporter concept as a silent-running large taxi with up to nine seats.

This concept car is a technological forerunner – it is the first version of the best-selling van to be powered entirely by electricity. The battery system of the ABT e-Transporter is built to be scalable so that it can satisfy the needs of a wide variety of potential applications and budgets in a possible production model. In its base configuration, the Transporter has a lithium-ion battery with an energy capacity of 37.3 kWh; the second battery version offers an energy capacity of 74.6 kWh. Driving ranges with these two batteries are between 208 and 400 km (predicted NEDC figures).

A fully discharged 37.3-kW battery can be charged to 100 per cent with in five hours and ten minutes at a charging power of up to 7.2 kW, and using the quick charge method at 40 kW of power it can even charge it to 80 per cent in 49 minutes. Charging times are twice as long for the large battery version (74.6 kW instead of 37.3 kW).

ABT e-Line GmbH has developed the zero-emission transporter in cooperation with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. ABT e-Line GmbH is a company of the ABT Group to which the well-known company ABT Sportsline GmbH also belongs – a company that is extremely successful in the fields of vehicle upgrades and motorsports and is considered a pacesetter in electric mobility for both motorsport and road vehicles. Team ABT has competed successfully in the FIA Formula E racing series, for example, in which it has already won in the driver classification with Lucas Di Grassi and in the team classification as well.

This has led to the creation of the ABT e-Transporter – a zero-emission vehicle with tremendous practical utility. The 120-km/h transporter with its two battery variants offers a storage volume of 6.7 m3. Maximum payload is 1,050 kg with the smaller battery or 750 kg with the larger battery. Its gross vehicle weight rating is 3,200 kg in both variants.

The ABT e-Transporter is based on the larger wheelbase version (3,400 mm) of the “T6″. The overall length of the concept vehicle is 5,406 mm. In addition to the taxi being shown in Hannover (Caravelle for passenger transport), other conceivable derivatives include a closed panel van (flexible use of cargo compartment) and a kombi (different seat and cargo compartment variants).”

Volkswagen Crafter HyMotion

Another electrified model is Volkswagen Crafter HyMotion – it’s hydrogen fuel cell vehicle with 13.1 kWh battery and 30 kW fuel cell system for over 500 km (311 miles). Hydrogen consumption stands at 1.4 kg/100 km (total amount is 7.5 kg).

The 100 kW electric motors comes from e-Crafter, which enters the market this year.

According to Volkswagen, there are 50 hydrogen stations in Germany. By the end of 2018 the number is expected to double to 100, and by 2023 it will be 400.

Volkswagen Crafter HyMotion

Crafter HyMotion is a large, long-range transporter with a hydrogen fuel cell

  • The Crafter concept, powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, achieves ranges of up to 500 km
  • The near-production Crafter HyMotion could be available for sale as soon as the filling station infrastructure is in place

Volkswagen Crafter HyMotion

Hannover, 19 September 2018 – Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has just recently presented the first large electric van with the world premiere of the e-Crafter. Now, just one month later, the next zero-emission version of the highly contemporary panel van is celebrating its world premiere at IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover: the Crafter HyMotion – a van with a fuel cell drive. Unlike the e-Crafter, which can be ordered now, the Crafter HyMotion is still a concept vehicle. Nonetheless, its technical concept is near-production.

HyMotion stands for the terms “hydrogen” and “motion” – i.e. driving with hydrogen. The Crafter HyMotion was designed to cover longer distances with zero emissions. The e-Crafter, on the other hand, was developed for delivery services, service businesses and tradesmen who mainly travel short distances in the city with its lithium-ion battery and ranges of up to 173 kilometres (WLTP) . The longer the daily distances to be covered, the more appealing the fuel cell drive becomes in the field of large commercial vehicles, because its ranges are long and its fuel stops are very short – both of which are especially important criteria in the delivery of just-in-time goods. The vehicle’s maximum payload is the same as that of today’s diesel vehicles.

The tanks integrated in the Crafter HyMotion have a capacity of 7.5 kg hydrogen. This enables the 4.2-tonne van to cover driving ranges of more than 500 km. Instead of the large traction battery of the e-Crafter, a smaller lithium-ion battery with an energy capacity of 13.1 kWh is at work in the Crafter HyMotion. The fuel cell system that delivers 30 kW of power serves as a range extender. Meanwhile, the Crafter HyMotion utilises the same 100‑kW electric motor and gearbox as in the e-Crafter. The van’s fuel consumption is 1.4 kg hydrogen per 100 km. A driving range example: the Crafter HyMotion would only need to refill with fuel once on the 623 km route from Hannover, the capital of Lower Saxony, to the Bavarian metropolis of Munich. Duration of the filling stop: four minutes.

Fuel cell drives like the one in the Crafter HyMotion are still significantly more expensive than all-electric drives. However, forecasts based on analyses by the Volkswagen Group indicate that manufacturing costs for these two zero-emission drive systems are likely to equalise by 2025. By then, the infrastructure of hydrogen filling stations will also have improved substantially. Take the example of Germany: today there are 50 filling stations across Germany. By the end of this year there will already be around 100. The network is expected to grow to 400 filling stations by 2023. This means that the infrastructure will be good enough within the next five years to make commercial vehicles with hydrogen fuel cells relevant in business practice. Between 2025 and 2030, the number of hydrogen filling stations could rise to as many as 1,000 across Germany. If, at the same time, prices for components of this pioneering drive system drop, this could enable a market breakthrough by hydrogen fuel cells from 2025. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is prepared for this eventuality with innovative vehicle concepts like the Crafter HyMotion.

Mode of operation of the fuel cell
This can be explained in two sentences: a hydrogen fuel cell utilises energy from the chemical reaction between hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O) to generate electrical energy. The “exhaust gas” is nothing more than clean water vapour.

Explained in detail: the central element of each individual fuel cell is a proton-conducting membrane – several of which are combined to form a stack. Each membrane is positioned between the anode and the cathode. Hydrogen flows on the anode side, and air flows into the cell on the cathode side. In this process, hydrogen reacts with oxygen and combines to form water at the cathode. Here, the fuel cell converts the chemical energy of an oxidation process – also known as “cold combustion” – directly into electrical energy.

Overview of the Crafter model series
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has one of the most innovative and efficient large vans in the form of the current Crafter. There is hardly another commercial vehicle in this class that offers better space, economy, more optimal payloads, a similarly innovative range of assistance and infotainment systems, more connected online fleet management systems or a comparably large range of drive systems and body variants.

When it made its debut in autumn 2016, the Crafter was offered with front-wheel drive and a maximum gross weight of 3,500 kg. Since then, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has been systematically extending the number of drive and body combinations so that it can offer tailor-made solutions for all conceivable transport tasks. For example, both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive (4MOTION) have been available in the Crafter since mid-2017. The youngest offspring of the model series is the new e‑Crafter. As a panel van it is ideally suited for urban delivery transport. The launch of this innovative zero-emission van in the market coincides with the IAA on 20 September 2018. Just as for the e-Crafter, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is also offering the Crafter as a panel van, a kombi, single and double cab (pickup, tipper and chassis) as well as a box body. In addition, two wheelbases (3.64 and 4.49 metres) and various overall lengths are available. The Crafter is designed for a gross weight of 3,000 to 5,500 kg, depending on the drive, engine and gearbox combination.

The Crafter TDI vehicles are powered by four-cylinder turbodiesel engines, and the e-Crafter, as mentioned, by an electric motor. A particulate filter and SCR catalytic converter reduce emissions of the efficient TDI engines. These engines are available at the output levels of 75 kW / 102 PS, 90 kW / 122 PS, 103 kW / 140 PS and 130 kW / 177 PS.”

Volkswagen Cargo e-Bike

The last is electrically-assisted cargo bike with 250 W electric motor and 500 Wh battery, which can take 210 kg of payload (including rider) and go some 100 km (62 miles) with electric support at speeds up to 25 km/h.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles intends to sell those vehicles from 2019.

Volkswagen Cargo e-Bike

“Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is presenting the world’s most advanced electric cargo bike

  • The Cargo e-Bike is equipped with innovative axle kinematics which keep the goods being transported level
  • The three-wheel pedelec can be ridden without a driver’s licence and will launch in 2019

Hannover, 19 September 2018 – Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will be offering innovative zero-emission vehicles in nearly all market segments. With this goal in mind, the brand has developed its first electric cargo bike: the Cargo e-Bike. It was designed for use in downtown areas, production plants, businesses of all types and hotels – the list of potential applications is limitless. A progressive last-mile deliverer with a market launch date as soon as next year.

The Cargo e-Bike from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is a pedelec that adds power assistance to the rider’s pedalling with its 250 watt (48V) mid-mounted motor at speeds up to 25 km/h. The advantages: the cargo bike can be used without a driver’s licence or insurance and can be used practically anywhere. The energy for the electric motor is supplied by a lithium-ion battery (energy capacity: 500 Wh). The bike’s range is up to 100 kilometres.

The three-wheel Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle has an axle with two wheels at the front and the cargo platform positioned low between them. The rear of the pedelec is designed like a normal bicycle. A cargo box with a storage volume of 0.5 m3 can be mounted to the load platform. The cargo bike is 2,060 mm long, 890 mm wide and 1,100 mm tall (height of handlebars). The drive and the rugged architecture of the lightweight 40-kg cargo bike have been designed for a payload of up to 210 kg (including rider).

The innovative kinematics of the front axle ensure that the goods being transported on the load platform do not tilt with the cargo bike when cornering, rather they remain horizontal and thereby stable. This tilt-levelling technology is an innovation in the segment of cargo bikes.

Ingenious detailed solutions like the new kinematics are a common thread that runs through the entire design concept of the Cargo e-Bike. The bike’s track width was intentionally limited to less than 900 mm so that it is even possible to ride through door frames. The combination of its track width, a relatively long wheelbase of 1,350 mm and the low centre of gravity of its load platform result in a high degree of safety against overturning. Ride comfort is optimised by wide balloon tyres (20-inch at front, 24-inch at rear) from Continental (“Revolution” type). The solutions implemented by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles combine to create a new generation of electric cargo bikes whose utility and ride properties will set the benchmark in this field.

The innovative Cargo e-Bike will be produced at the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles plant in Hannover. A new production area with a floor area of 240 m2was set up for this purpose. SOP – Start of Production – is scheduled for the very near future.”

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16 Comments on "VW Reveals Electric ABT e-Transporter, e-Caddy, Crafter & More"

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VW, does not understand taxi drivers. “DC fast charger (up to 40 kW)” is dead on arrival with that kind of battery range. Taxi drivers don’t want to spend a lot of time charging. 129 miles is trivial when you get paid by the mile. $2.50 / mile is the rate in my town for a taxi. Not even $325 made before you’re stopped for a good hour plus? Most taxis have a rotating set of drivers and they run 24 / 7 or close to it. From what I’ve heard, even a Tesla taxi is difficult. Battery swaps would be great for a taxi.

there is a huge amount of taxis that line up for 10..30 minutes in the airport/exhibition center queue for a downtown trip that earns them ~50 bucks. if the waiting slots are organized by some electronic system you can easily charge up in these times.

VW lost it completely! It´s like someone there in the “cloud” is taking these wrong decisions. Also a Buzz is a huge disappointment, it´s way to short and makes no sense in that form and that short. Instead of solar cells they installed ridiculous useless glass on the roof, forgetting who where the buyers once… VW has a serious decision problem there. The guy deciding at VW lost a contact to the rest of the world (VW costumers) clearly and completely. Its like He knows it once looked like that (Buzz), but not quite sure why exactly

The Buzz is the same size as the current Transporter, which sells plenty. Why is that too small?

Rotating set of drivers? Don’t know whether that’s the case in other places — but here in Berlin at least, each driver generally seems to have their own Taxi.

Funny, in Europe electric cars have proven excellent as taxis. The high mileage is the most important selling point, since EVs have so much lower running costs. Having a half an hour extra break that is more than paid for by reduced costs seems like a perfectly good option to me, if I were a cabbie.

In Norway, no taxi drives 24/7. Most are driven by the owner, who has considerable freedom to arrange his or her own workday. And, of course, fossil fuels are very expensive here, more closely reflecting the total cost of their use than in the US (where the price merely reflects the cost of getting the stuff made and into the car’s fuel tank).

No news from Hannover regarding the VW MOIA Electric Van?

How the hell are they still quoting NEDC numbers for these vehicles? WLTP became binding for all new registrations in the EU starting in September this year! They’re just shooting themselves in the foot; they’ll have to quote WLTP when they go on sale, but people will just be wondering why all of a sudden the range is only 75% of what they initially promised! How can this be to anyone’s advantage?

Edit: I also want to add that that bike is pretty hot. And not just because they didn’t base the range on the NEDC 🙂

WLTP is phased in. The first full year is 2021. And the manufacturers are at it again, gaming the system. First they lobbied rule changes so that the emissions standard would NOT define specific grams/km maximums, but instead require certain percentage reductions from the baseline (which will then be WLTP 2021). Then they do the opposite of their NEDC trick, and overstate consumption instead of understating it, to create an artificially high baseline. Voila, half of the emissions reductions originally planned for have been eliminated.


30 kW fuel cell? That’s absurd. The whole point of the fuel cell variant would be regularly doing long trips — good luck with 30 kW on the Autobahn…

Hopefully there will be true Innovation competiton between hydro & BEV..I think both have room – Hydro especiallyn in large heavy vehicles and heavy duty Transportation like trains, ships and even airplanes.

Size/weight is not decisive. Distances between refills are. It *might* work in ships and/or planes I guess. Trucks certainly not, and trains seems even less likely.

It is fine for me that maybe americans and most europeans are fine with 7.x kW onboard charger (1-phase) but I know for sure there are plenty of us interested to upgrade to 400V 3-phase charging at either 11 or 22 kW effect. How come they ignore us so often?

Single phase is pretty much guaranteed. 3 phase not so much. As a car builder why would I add expense with 3 phase when single phase will do the job for the majority of owners?
To be honest, even 3.3kW on the home EVSE is plenty. 7.2kW would be nice. 22kW is almost not required in 99% of home charging situations, where you typically are charging while you are asleep. 7.2kW on 240V circuit is 40Amp, around me we typically only have 100amp or maybe 200amp feeding into the home anyway.
Sounds like Europe is way out in front if they typically have 3 phase in the home, more power to them.
For longer trips DC chargers are what’s required. 400V and 150kW is pretty easy to implement in more regions. 800V and 350kW sounds like a good idea on paper, but all that extra cooling required and the added expenses to facilitate those locations will most likely result in very expensive per charge costs, not to mention most cars can only effectively charge at 100kW anyway.
We’ll see how it all plays out, it is certainly interesting.

The Renault Zoé has a very inexpensive onboard charging system that handles 3kW AC single phase all the way to 43kW AC 3-phase — without extra hardware. There’s no DC charger: The car’s inverter is used in reverse to charge the battery, which is why the system is called “Chameleon”. At 43kWh, 0-80% SoC takes ~1 hour.

Sure, you won’t reach 150kW charging rates this way, but the 41kWh version of the Zoé has a real-world range of ~200mi, which is sufficient for lots of uses; not every EV needs a 100kWh+ battery.

3.3kW isn’t that great, frankly — it’s only enough for basic commuting. If you arrive mostly depleted from a trip, have only have 4-5 hours to charge rather than 12-13, and need to go more than a minimum distance the next day, it’s not enough.
Were I living in a 110V country, I’d definitely install a 240V EVSE.

Wow, 1.4 kg per 100 km. That’s 550 Wh per km, or less than 2 km per kWh. To make the hydrogen required for 100 km will require a minimum expenditure of electricity of 90 kWh.

It’s awfully inefficient, so it’s going to be expensive to run, even if we disregard the ultra costly infrastructure required.

I’ve heard no good argument for using hydrogen in cars. Batteries are just so much cheaper and more efficient for energy storage in a car.

Sorting huge quantities of energy over long periods of time may be a different matter. We won’t have BEVs we charge in summer and then drive all winter anytime soon. But if we can make much more renewable energy than we need in summer, but use more than we can make in winter, then perhaps making hydrogen from windmills is better than just stopping production. Hydrogen does allow you to store a lot of energy in relatively little mass.

I’m not really certain hydrogen won’t have a role to play in the energy puzzle. But I really don’t see it ever being a good choice for cars.