Giant battery: electric truck with 1,000 kWh

The Swiss company Designwerk is bringing a truck with a megawatt battery. The semi-trailer truck manages a range of up to 640 km in everyday use.

The company Designwerk from Switzerland has been converting trucks to electric drives for several years. A specialty of the company from Winterthur are the self-developed and self-manufactured battery packs, some of which have enormous capacities. In the summer of 2021, for example, Designwerk set a new range world record of over 1,000 kilometers with one battery charge with an electric truck (see video below).

, After the traction batteries, which have recently grown to a capacity of 900 kWh, Designwerk has now upped the ante and presented a tractor unit with a megawatt battery. The battery with a capacity of 1,000 kWh should allow the trailer truck with a total weight of 42 tons a range of 576 kilometers; depending on the route profile and load, a range of up to 640 kilometers is possible.

1,017 kilowatt hours in luggage

To put this capacity into perspective: With 1,000 kWh, an average household could be supplied with electricity for three to four months. In case of doubt, the Designwerk truck transports this amount of energy within one day.

However, the 1,000 kWh (according to the data sheet it is exactly 1,017 kWh) of the battery packs are not fully released for consumption. As is usual with electric vehicles, the amount that can be removed is limited by the on-board electronics because fully discharged batteries age much faster. Designwerk releases 85 percent of the total capacity, a rather conservatively calculated safety cushion, with 864 kWh net available as drive energy.

The batteries alone weigh almost six tons

The battery packs not only require plenty of space, they also add significantly to the weight. The batteries housed on the side and behind the driver's cab weigh 5.62 tons. Due to the assembly space behind the cab, which takes up around one meter of overall length, the wheelbase of the tractor must also be extended, which, depending on the country of use, is at the expense of the length of the trailer. In the EU, articulated lorries may be a maximum of 16.5 meters long.

When it comes to the charging options, Designwerk sticks to the proven CCS Type 2 standard, which also corresponds to the current state of the available charging technology. The megawatt charging planned for the future with charging capacities of up to 3,750 kW (see linked article above) is currently still a development project. The Designwerk truck charges with 150 kW as standard, and charging technology with up to 350 kW at suitable charging stations is available as an option. Alternating current can be processed with up to 44 kW.

Designwerk uses vehicles from the Volvo Trucks range for the respective electric trucks, so the tractor unit now presented comes from Volvo's FM series. The Swedes are also linked to Designwerk through a financial stake, which creates short paths in the collaboration. In addition to the megawatt semi-trailer that is now being presented, Designwerk is converting practically the entire product line of medium-duty and heavy-duty Volvo trucks, with various options for battery sizes starting at 375 kWh. Designwerk has not named a price for the megawatt truck that is now being presented.

Conclusion

1,017 kWh battery capacity - an electric car would have a range of around 6,000 kilometers. The huge battery in the new semitrailer tractor from Designwerk is sufficient for a maximum distance of 640 kilometers, but only 85 percent of the battery capacity is used. Nevertheless, this is also sufficient for long-distance use to cover all routes within the prescribed rest periods. The fact that battery technology, quite apart from the enormous costs, cannot be infinitely scaled is shown by the space required for the batteries and, above all, their weight. 5.6 tons just for the energy storage is an announcement.

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