Germany-based GSE supplier Goldhofer has launched an improved version of its electric cargo tractor, the Sherpa E. It comes equipped with a direct drive motor with a maximum torque of 1,050Nm that gives the new e-tractor a speed of up to 30km/h at only 3,000rpm, as well as other improvements
While the 400V lithium battery-powered Sherpa E has “surpassed conventional diesel tow tractors and [other] e-tractors with lead-acid batteries in terms of performance, flexibility, sustainability and economics” since its introduction, these latest changes have been made as a result of “growing demand for emission-free ground handling”, Goldhofer says.
The upgraded Sherpa E now comes with two options for battery capacity: either 35 or 70kWh – depending on the version chosen (‘Performance’/’High Performance’), – for a draw bar pull between 25 and 45kN.
The Sherpa E is still based on Goldhofer’s ‘IonMaster’ battery technology, which enables very short charging times and the option of interim (or opportunity) charging. IonMaster is a powerful electric drive based on high-voltage, lithium-ion battery technology. Energy savings compared to diesel-powered vehicles can be as high as 80%, the company believes, while the tug is also extremely quiet. The lithium technology also offers over 30% higher performance than lead-acid batteries, Goldhofer asserts.
The Sherpa E, which can be individually configured to customer requirements, can be charged using almost any standard charging infrastructure, including both AC and DC fast charging stations. It takes just 35 minutes, for example, to charge a 70 kWh battery from 20% to 80% in the case of opportunity charging at a fast DC charging station with a charging capacity of 70kW.
The modular battery system also comes with what Goldhofer describes as “intelligent temperature management”. A cooling compressor and heater ensure that battery temperature remains within an optimum range of +15 to +40 degrees. This system is said to add 25% to the operating range of the vehicle, while Goldhofer product manager Rüdiger Dube notes: “The integrated temperature management system was developed by Goldhofer and is a brand new system for saving battery lifetime. The improved battery itself has no influence on the vehicle’s torque behaviour.”
Intelligent temperature management, Goldhofer says, ensures the Sherpa E’s efficient operation around the world in ambient temperature ranges of between -20°C and +45°C.
These changes to the Sherpa E tug were made during the second half of last year, Dube informs. He explains: “As a technology leader, Goldhofer is constantly striving to make improvements in order to keep its products constantly on the cutting edge of technology. The experience gained in connection with the operation of the Sherpa E has contributed to driving forward the model upgrade.”
Electric in demand
According to the Memmingen-based GSE manufacturer, today’s new generation of e-tractors offers not only a wider range of performance and a longer life cycle in service, but also faster and more flexible charging options alongside longer servicing intervals and lower operating costs.
Of course, the demand for electric vehicles has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, just as it has for their diesel GSE counterparts. However, says Dube, “There is a noticeable trend that, due to the sustainability issue, e-mobility is coming to the fore. When it comes to new acquisitions, vehicles with the latest technology available on the market are given top priority.”
Moreover, he adds: “Goldhofer assumes that the demand for electrically powered tractors will increase disproportionately compared to conventional diesel tractors as soon as the GSE market returns to normal.”