- An Aachen professor is driving the e-car revolution
- A company to show that it works
- Nothing came from the big manufacturers
- Completely optimized for a low price
- Standard components help save
- Up to 100,000 vehicles annually
- The electric pioneer drives a Porsche privately
An Aachen professor is driving the e-car revolution
The next project. Gunther Schuh is in the chassis of the e.Go Life
Source: Marcus Simaitis
The Post already uses his electric van, now Gunther Schuh is building an affordable electric car for the city, the cheapest on the market. He is anything but an eco-romantic
M.he takes a quick step towards the prototype. Caresses the body, feels the paint, inspects the gaps. Gunther Schuh nods with satisfaction. The professor for production systems and managing director of e.Go Mobile AG succeeds in something that the German automotive industry has missed for years.
He produces electric cars, which also sell. And that for the second time: first the street scooter, a delivery van that the post office in the delivery service, and now the e.Go, an electric vehicle for city traffic.
His little city car should be more beautiful, more useful and better than anything that the competition has to offer up to now – and above all cheaper. "The fact that e-mobility is not making headway in Germany," says Gunther Schuh, "is not due to the technology, but rather to the costs." Car buyers would rather accept a limited range than a high price.
At around 16,000 euros, his four-seater will be the cheapest electric car on the market – minus 4,000 euros for the environmental bonus.
A company to show that it works
It is thanks to the enthusiasm of the Cologne-born man that he became a car maker. At 59 years of age, he is bursting with energy, works 80 hours a week and looks as fit as a freshly charged battery in the evenings.
Even as a student, he came to Aachen with hybrid vehicles in touch, drove a converted VW Bulli. He was enthusiastic about the type of drive, but it was immature. "Back then we put the technology in a drawer because we said: The hybrid is the combination of the disadvantages of two drive concepts."
Schuh is doing his doctorate at RWTH, He founded a consulting company and at the age of 34 became professor for business production management at the University of St. Gallen. In 2001 he returned to Aachen, doing research in the field of complexity and modular systems. A task that he enjoys, but does not keep him busy. Schuh wants to show that industrial production in high-wage countries like Germany is still justified.
Together with his colleague Achim Kampker and other partners, he founded Streetscooter Research GmbH in 2010 and developed an electric delivery van for short-haul traffic. In 18 months, the engineers will build a prototype that they will use at the IAA exhibit.
Swiss Post relies on the electric street scooter. The company has now taken over the manufacturer of the van
Source: picture alliance / Bernd von Jut
Nothing came from the big manufacturers
A series model is created from this in a very short time. The Streetscooter is a small van without any frills, whose short range is completely sufficient for daily parcel delivery. This is well received at Swiss Post, which first buys the vehicles and then the entire company and all of its employees.
Except for Gunther Schuh, who plans to take a step back and only take care of his chair. And about his wife and two children. “I was overworked from selling and just wanted to do my normal job for a year,” he says.
The resolution lasts for two weeks, then he has a new idea: “It was clear to me for a long time that we needed electric cars for inner cities,” he says. Without them, the major manufacturers would not be able to reduce the CO2 emissions of their vehicle fleets to 95 grams per kilometer by 2020, as required by law. "I thought to myself, I have to give a new impulse."
After the success of the street scooter, he initially assumes that there will be little time left for the introduction of an electric city car before the established manufacturers enter the market. But nothing comes from them.
Completely optimized for a low price
Schuh begins with the conception of a new electric vehicle and founds e.Go Mobile AG with partners. In order to achieve the low price, which he believes to be crucial for success, he first thinks about production and only then about the vehicle.
More on the subject of e-cars
As an e-car driver, you should be familiar with these terms
In electromobility there is no getting around fuel cells
Electromobility is a false promise
“The production technicians are almost always asked at the end,” he says. “We just turned the tables, left out the designers and developed them ourselves.” Instead of his own designs, his company uses standard products from major suppliers such as Hella and Bosch or ZF. The advantage: zero development expenses and low purchasing costs thanks to high quantities. The total costs for the development are reduced to around 30 million euros – an established manufacturer would have invested 500 million euros for this.
However, Schuh’s approach is not to provide a one-size-fits-all solution. He only sees affordable electromobility on shorter journeys. His city car can travel between 100 and 150 kilometers on one battery charge, which is sufficient for everyday use. “In the city we have to drive emission-free,” he says. "This is absolutely necessary because exhaust gases are harmful to health."
On longer journeys, he is more likely to use plug-in hybrids or fuel cell cars than from purely battery-powered vehicles with a long range. “The batteries are too expensive for that. They are also not significantly cheaper, so large batteries are not profitable. "
The e.Go Life was developed with production technology in mind. A designer only came into play at the very end
Source: e.Go Mobile AG
Standard components help save
Schuh’s cell phone rings, the number is withheld. Armin Laschet It’s up to the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia and an old friend. Schuh leaves the room, comes back after twenty minutes, politely apologizes. “I can’t get rid of my Prime Minister.” He picks up the thread again and comes to the first e.Go model.
“A car has to be beautiful, also a sensible one, otherwise nobody will buy it,” says the professor. After 42 design changes, the 3.35 meter long e.Go Life is ready, and only at the very end does an Italian designer lend a hand. The 820 kilo mobile will be on the CeBIT presented, orders have been coming in since, between 15 and 20 a day. And that, although there is still no sales, let alone cars to test drive.
His company currently has 140 employees and 70 part-time employees, the average age is 31 years. He rattles off the numbers by heart. Production is to begin next year in one of four planned halls in Aachen.
This is where the aluminum frame for the e.Go Life is built, the thermoplastic cover is installed and the two electric drives are attached to the rear axle. The motors come from Bosch, the battery from BMZ from Baden-Wurttemberg. The cars will later be serviced in Bosch’s car service stations, and the company will also organize the spare parts warehouse and logistics.
Made afloat: the e.Go Life from behind
Source: e.Go Mobile AG
Up to 100,000 vehicles annually
Production is located on the former Philips site in Rothe Erde, where TV tubes used to be made. The first 1,800 cars are to be assembled there by the end of 2018, and production capacity is to be expanded to 100,000 vehicles by 2022.
In addition to the city runabout, the engineers are planning the minibus Mover, which is due to come in 2019, and a slightly larger compact car, the Booster. In ten years, e.Go Mobile AG should have a fleet of five to six vehicles and an annual turnover of five billion euros.
"We will be a particularly logical and cooperative company," says Gunther Schuh. No wonder that many car bosses want to talk to him right now.
In his opinion, however, combustion engines will still be around 30 years from now – or at least until an ecologically and economically justifiable replacement solution has been found, for example with fuels made from renewable raw materials. The internal combustion engine is no longer supposed to be found in the city.
The electric pioneer drives a Porsche privately
Gunther Schuh put his first car, an NSU 1200 C, on the roof after a rapid drive. At the age of 34 he bought his first Porsche 911. He stayed true to the brand. Until recently he drove a 911 Carrera 4S, then he switched to a Panamera plug-in hybrid. He covers long distances in a small plane.
The e.Go Life will be added soon. “This is a Porsche killer,” he says. "With that you can leave every 911 at the traffic light, even if only for the first few meters."
Although the German auto industry is lagging behind in terms of electromobility, Schuh is certain that it will soon catch up. The fuel cell may be at the end of the tunnel. The day after tomorrow it will be affordable. "If hydrogen can then be produced ecologically, we have a really cool solution ready." Of course, he already has a few ideas.
Hype about the electric car, but not on the street 1 of 5 The Mitsubishi iMiev was one of the first electric cars to be mass-produced. In Germany it has…
That’s how good Germany’s newest electric car is The e.Go Life will be launched on the German market at the end of 2018. Cost: 15,900 euros minus 4,000…
Audi discontinues new development of electric cars 1 of 8 Now just one fixed idea: The market launch of the E-tron that had already been decided on has…
With this scooter, it’s like flying 1 of 6 Lorraine Haist tests the Unu electric scooter for the world. Source: Jakob Hoff 2 of 6 The little speedster…
The future begins for Volvo with the C30 E. 1 of 5 Driving report Volvo C30 Electric: The electric version of the Volvo C30 has been delivered in Europe…
Porsche on the way to the electric future What car enthusiasts can look forward to in the near future Go full throttle on the racetrack or virtually…
Mercedes secures electric vehicle know-how A Tesla Roadster with a Mercedes star? So far it has only been a fantasy and image montage. But the Tesla’s…
Electric scooters make people mobile in the city A rental scooter from the provider Coup on the way to Oberbaumbrucke in Berlin Source: Moritz Thau You…
Swallow, you’ve gotten heavy Swallow approaching: WELT author Denise Juchem tested the electric swallow in Berlin. Conclusion: It drives great, but it is…
Casual companion in a retro look Founder and E-Bility CEO Patrik Tykesson on a Kumpan scooter Source: E-Bility GmbH What started as a beer mood has…