The demands on commercial vehicles in particular are continually being tightened up. The environmental requirements are those which are most obvious. When London Taxi International abandoned its development project for electrically powered multi-purpose urban vehicles, four of the people involved in the project found a strong financier and continued the development work on their own. This was the beginning of Modec Ltd, which was founded in 2004.
Commercial vehicles must be easy to handle and must be able to negotiate the narrow streets in densely built-up areas.
"The environmental adaptation demands on our vehicle concerns both emissions and noise level", says Colin Smith, Engineering Director and one of the founders of the original design team.
A commercial vehicle with no emissions but with better performance than a diesel equivalent.
The solution: an electrically powered light commercial vehicle. The specific requirements made by the company's design department could be met only by using advanced high strength steel.
"We were determined that the battery should be in a central location," emphasises Colin Smith. "This is to provide good balance in the vehicle, and also for safety reasons. In the event of a crash, it is important for the battery to be located where it is well protected."
A special chassis frame was designed for the battery casette in order to meet this requirement. The frame must also be able to withstand the bending and torsion forces to which the vehicle is subjected during its life cycle.
The customer can order different chassis lengths, which enables various types of equipment to be fitted to the vehicle, such as a van body or a drop side.
The noise level in cities is becoming increasingly troublesome. A Modec vehicle is completely quiet, which makes it well-suited for delivering goods in built-up areas, even at night.
The new Modec has no problem in keeping up with traffic, not even when the traffic lights turn green. Another clear advantage is the small turning circle - only 10.8 metres.
The range per battery charge is over 150 km. Bearing in mind that the vehicle is principally intended for service in the cities, this is a very good range. And a commercial electric power socket is all that is needed for "filling up". The top speed is 80 km per hour - the same speed as for regular trucks in Europe. If necessary, a Modec vehicle fitted with the right gearbox can negotiate a hill with a gradient of no less than 33 percent.
The high loading capacity of Modec's electrically powered light commercial vehicle is achieved by utilising advanced high strenght steel in a closed section frame design, which gives the overall torsional stiffness and strenght that are required.
Modec Ltd. was founded in 2004. Modec vehicles was awarded with the second prize in the Swedish Steel Prize 2008. The Modec vehicles will be utilized as official transportation vehicles during the Olympic Games in London in 2012.
Domex 650 is used for the closed section frame of the vehicle, as well as in the "crumple zone" which protects the front in the event of a collision.