ThinKing Mai 2019: Rethinking microvans and vans: Up to 30 percent higher payloads and loading space thanks to lightweight chassis



Small transporters and transporters rethought - that can the "UCCON".

The Böblingen-based company TEAMOBILITY GmbH has created the “UCCON”, a demonstrator for a totally new approach to mobility. The “UCCON” has almost one third higher payload and loading volume as a microvan of the same length. The chassis is jam packed with lightweight technology for the heaviest possible payload.

The Development Agency for Lightweighting Baden-Württemberg presents this innovation in the May 2019 edition of the ThinKing. Leichtbau BW GmbH uses this label to showcase excellent lightweight technology products or services from Baden-Württemberg every month.

“A “classic” vehicle has a heavy front combustion engine, a big radiator, a driver’s cab behind it and a tank at the rear. If we forget this classic image of what a motor vehicle is like and adopt a lightweight concept, a whole range of alternative ways of thinking about and designing a vehicle become possible,” says Dr. Wolfgang Seeliger, Managing Director of Leichtbau BW GmbH. The “UCCON” is a wonderful example of such rethinking. The mobility concept for the “last mile” is a patented lightweight rolling chassis developed by TEAMOBILITY GmbH from Böblingen. It can be used as a universal platform on which bodies of all kinds can be mounted: a flatbed or panel superstructure for transporting goods, a shuttle or bus for passengers or an ambulance or rescue vehicle. “Depending on industry requirements or customer needs, the chassis can also be fitted with various sustainable drive systems,” explains Professor Johann Tomforde, Managing Partner of TEAMOBILITY GmbH. Various different materials are used in the chassis’ sandwich platform design, such as profiles constructed from the light metals aluminium and magnesium and composites for the sandwich base plate.

This is what makes the “UCCON” different
The engine sits compactly in the vehicle underbody between the axles. The nose is around one third shorter than in standard light commercial vehicles. The driving position is consequently much further forwards. “The UCCON has about a 30 to 50 percent more usable space. The basic form of the chassis looks a little like the basic shape of a boat hull and offers the best bending and torsional rigidity with minimal material as well as very good crash behaviour,” says Tomforde. The team behind the UCCON has also already taken autonomous driving into account. “The driving position and driver’s cabin design will evolve on the way to level 5, for example fully autonomous driving. The system design is modular and enables the driver’s cabin to be adapted as technology advances. If the UCCON is driven fully autonomously the front section can be used for new functions, such as for more passenger seats when a vehicle is used as a bus”, explains Tomforde. 

Lightweight technology is indispensable for the mobility of the future.
“As urbanisation increases we will need low-emission and resource-conserving overall systems to sustain mobility and services for people. This will only be possible if we consistently implement resource-conserving lightweight technology,” says Tomforde.

Böblingen-based TEAMOBILITY GmbH works with an interdisciplinary team of experts on tomorrow’s smart city and mobility concepts. “Smart” is often said to be the brainchild of Managing Partner Professor Johann Tomforde. As a young student he developed the first electric car concept studies as early as 1969, built the Mercedes Benz “City Car” brand and was responsible for the development and production of the Smart in the 1990s.

TEAMOBILITY GmbH was nominated for the 2019 German Innovation Award for the UCCON Integrated Chassis development.

INFORMATION What exactly is a lightweight construction concept?
"The underlying philosophy of lightweight construction is all about leaving things out. Vehicles are designed and built for special transport functions. They are capable of fulfilling their designated transport function with a minimum of material. In other words: you can't do it with any less,” explains Dr. Wolfgang Seeliger. “A vehicle which transports goods or people in urban traffic over relatively short distances makes entirely different demands of the undercarriage, construction and design than a vehicle which is built to transport goods over long distances at high speed on a motorway,” adds Tomforde.

Your contact at the State Agency for Lightweighting Baden-Württemberg:
Alexander Hauber
PR Manager
Leichtbau BW GmbH
Breitscheidstraße 4
70174 Stuttgart
Tel.: +49 711 – 128 988-47
Mob.: +49 151 – 1171 10 02

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