Features & Interviews

Five minutes with…Neil Yates, CEO of WEVC

18 May 2023 #Features & Interviews

How was the WATT eCV1 received on its debut at the CV Show?

The British-designed and built WATT eCV1 was first shown at the Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham, where it attracted strong interest from a host of blue chip companies that were keen to add its unique capabilities to their extensive vehicle fleets. Since the show, the prototype vehicle has been out on the road, racking up miles as the testing programme gets underway to continue the development of this ground-breaking electric commercial vehicle.

We had an amazing debut of the eCV1 prototype at the CV Show, with media and potential customers clamouring to see our new vehicle. The response was really humbling after thousands of hours of work to get to this stage, but the biggest surprise for people at the show was that the show vehicle is fully functional – and that we had driven it onto the stand. Since the NEC debut, we have been out testing it in the real world and developing it for production.

Tell us about your partnership with ETRUX?

Designed for production of up to 5,000 vehicles per annum, the highly flexible vehicle, codenamed WATT eCV1, enables a wide range of electric commercial vehicle designs, facilitating mission-specific models that meet customers’ particular fleet requirements.

Following the signing of an MoU between WEVC and electric commercial vehicle specialist, ETRUX, earlier this year, the engineering prototype was on display at Farnborough ITT Hub this month, based on the WATT eCV1 3.5-tonne cab and chassis unit, complete with an ETRUX designed and built body. The next step is for WEVC’s electric vehicle platform technology to be adapted by ETRUX into a range of offerings for the commercial vehicle market.

Tell us about the PACES architecture that WEVC uses?

In the first of multiple commercial vehicle offerings to come from WEVC, the eCV1 uses the company’s breakthrough proprietary PACES architecture – a sophisticated yet cost-effective modular electric vehicle platform. Developed to support commercial vehicle manufacturers, specialist vehicle converters and fleet operators in the transition to an electric future, PACES complies with ISO regulations and exceeds stringent European Small Series Type Approval safety standards.

Its ’cell-to-chassis’ system means batteries are integrated to the primary structure – rather than having a separate battery pack – optimising stiffness, minimising weight and maximising payload. As a result, the clean sheet design means the eCV1 has none of the structural, weight and packaging compromises inherent in most electric LCV designs, many of which having been converted from ICE drivetrains and are further constrained by traditional high volume manufacturing processes.

What is the benefit of having the central driving position?

The eCV1 features a central driving position that allows a safer kerbside exit for the operator, whichever side of the road the vehicle is driving or parked on. The cabin can be configured as a one, two or three seater vehicle, with the large glass house providing superb visibility, making it safer to drive and easier to manoeuvre and park.

A further benefit of the central driving position is that it has allowed the A-pillars to be repositioned inboard, thus reducing frontal area and drag – a key metric in designing an efficient electric commercial vehicle. The unique platform design creates generous full standing height headroom, facilitating easy ingress and egress and a ‘walk through cabin’ option that is ideally suited for urban delivery vehicles.

The WEVC eCV1 prototype has a kerbweight from just 1,750kg, delivering class leading payload and range in the 3.5t and 4.25t segments.

Neil Yates, CEO of WEVC

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