EVUM Motors – All-wheel eTransporter
Multifunctional electric vehicle for the third world
Africa is a continent that is economically growing very quickly, but it is still struggling with structural problems in many places. There is a fundamental need for mobility and connections, especially in rural areas. There is a lack of off-road multi-purpose vehicles that local people can afford to buy and operate. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have therefore developed a sustainable mobility concept for these regions. The resulting all-wheel drive electric transporter “aCar” was the basis for a successful spin-off.
The aim of the project was to identify the special market requirements in sub-Saharan Africa and to translate them into a suitable vehicle concept. The team opted for an electric powertrain with all-wheel drive. The concept for the loading area should enable modular constructions, in order to be able to convert the car into a mobile medical practice or a water treatment station, for example. Cast nodes and a simple, bolted construction should enable easy production of the supporting structure with very low investment costs.
The simple and robust design of the “aCar” takes into account the manufacturing conditions in Africa and thus creates long-term jobs in local production and maintenance. In 2016, the researchers tested a first prototype in field tests in Germany and Ghana. The plastic body and the entire drive train with its two 10 kW electric motors are easy to maintain. With the founding of EVUM Motors GmbH and the first international trade fair appearance at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, important milestones on the road to industrialization were reached in 2017.
The possible uses of the “aCar” now extend well beyond the original target market of Africa. The “aCar” can be used worldwide not only in the agricultural sector but also by trade and commerce, by municipal companies and in industry as an economical and environmentally friendly transporter. But Africa is still the goal: The model factory in Bayerbach near Ergoldsbach in Lower Bavaria provides the basis for going into series production in Africa with local partners. Initially, the “EVUM aCar” will be produced and sold in Europe. This creates local added value with our own plants, technology transfer and sustainable job creation. Another goal is to increase the independence of the communities through the use of regenerative electricity.
From the first idea to the series vehicle
The initial impetus for a cooperation project came from an event organized by Bayern Innovativ. This was also the starting signal for the realization of aCar mobility – a vision of the scientist Prof. Dr. Markus Lienkamp. As head of the Chair of Automotive Engineering at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and a member of the Advisory Board of the Automotive Cluster, he had been pursuing the idea of developing a mobility concept with a modular vehicle for remote regions of Africa for a long time. A conversation with the cluster spokesman, Prof. Dr. Josef Nassauer, on the sidelines of a Bayern Innovativ congress in 2013, led to an important contact for the project. The “African Health and Agricultural Foundation” (AHAF) was looking for university partnerships to help develop a vehicle for Africa. As early as April 2014, TUM was able to present an initial design concept.
As a result, the cooperation project aCar mobility – rural mobility in developing countries with a total cost of € 1.92 million was funded by the Bavarian Research Foundation with € 912,000 over a period of three years (01/2015 – 12/2017). aCar mobility was supported, among others, by the University of Bayreuth, which in 2015, together with the TUM, obtained funding for the initiation of international research cooperation (BayIntAn) from the Bavarian Research Alliance (BayFOR).
After the research and networking phase, EVUM Motors GmbH was founded in August 2017. Supported by the Automotive Cluster, including CoFAT, important contacts were established with suppliers and investors. The final design of the further developed “aCar” was presented at the IAA 2019. The “EVUM aCar” is now on the threshold of approval. International production in developing and emerging countries is planned for 2021.