VW posts plan for future mail vans

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Volkwagen’s commercial vehicle arm has developed a new concept for delivery and logistics... and it’s called eT!

The innovation follows careful study of customer needs and a drive to create zero-emissions vans for urban use.

And the result could see van users calling their local VW dealers rather than home.

eT! is currently a research vehicle but if it goes into production it will put electric power in the hands and under the feet of town and city delivery drivers all over the world.

“The eT! is not a vehicle which – unlike the Golf or up! with an electric motor – could become available very soon.

“But we must make plans today for what the world of lightweight commercial vehicles might look like starting in the second half of this decade, including with regard to electrical drives,” said Dr. Rudolf Krebs, group manager for Electric Traction at Volkswagen AG.

The concept of an electric van is not, in itself, new. Where the eT! will drive innovation forward is in what it can do working alongside its driver.

Delivery drivers currently have to leap in and out of their vans, often moving very short distances before jumping out again.

This stop/start driving is hard on the vehicle and creates higher emissions than running constantly at high speeds on a motorway.

Butr eT! will be fitted with a system called Follow Me, which will enable the van to ‘follow’ the driver as he walks between close deliveries, controlling the van via a joystick control on the passenger side, what VW is calling driving the van “semi-automatically”.

The passenger side will also have a ‘stand seat’, allowing the driver to ride in the vehicle while driving via the joystick, and quick access to the cargo part of the vehicle.

“On top of that, we also set out to design a very emotionally appealing commercial vehicle,” said Prof. Dr. Jürgen Leohold, director of Volkswagen Group Research.

VW believes different versions of the eT! could be implemented for all conceivable business uses.

The concept van, shown in a world premiere at the Design Centre of Potsdam, was specially designed for mail deliveries.

The research vehicle will now be integrated in a driving test study and further analysed.