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Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Is EV range on your mind? Let us put you at ease.

Energy-efficient V2 Series liftgate for all-electric commercial vans

Our engineers have conducted extensive testing to ensure that using a Tommy Gate has the least possible impact on the range of your electric vehicle. We think you will like what we discovered: an energy-efficient liftgate for all-electric commercial vans.

Article written by Caleb Mether, Tommy Gate Engineer.

With EVs making inroads into the commercial vehicle market, the most frequently asked question when discussing liftgate applications seems to be, "How will the liftgate affect the driving range?" So, we decided to test the V2 Series Internal Van Liftgate on a 2022 Ford® All-electric E-Transit.

 

PUTTING THE V2 SERIES LIFTGATE TO THE TEST 

We began testing, as we do with all new liftgate applications, by working on the actual vehicle at our engineering facility in Iowa. Due to preliminary data and open lines of communication with Ford about the electrical system, we were confident the V2 would work. However, like everyone else, we wanted to know exactly the battery requirement for multiple, full-loaded liftgate cycles.

We were excited about what we discovered regarding the compatibility of our liftgate with the E-Transit’s electrical system and the minimal power requirements of the V2 Series.

Because the E-Transit’s 12V electrical system is similar to the previous ICE (Internal Combustion Engine or gas engine) vehicle, the liftgate’s electrical connections remain the same. The significant difference is how the 12V battery is charged. 

With a traditional ICE vehicle, the alternator turns mechanical energy into electrical energy, then uses that energy to charge the 12V battery. However, the vehicle must be turned on to charge the 12V battery. This is not the case with the all-electric E-Transit. The drive battery (68kWh) on the E-Transit recharges the 12V battery through an onboard DC-DC charger when needed. There is a much larger power supply than in a traditional ICE vehicle due to this new method of charging the 12V battery. In fact, the E-Transit drive/ chassis battery can now deliver 80 times the power of a standard 12V battery in an ICE vehicle. 

We began the cycle test by connecting the V2 Series liftgate to the 70Ah E-Transit's 12V battery. We loaded the liftgate platform with 1,100 lb. (the maximum capacity of a V2 Series liftgate) and lifted it through an entire liftgate cycle 50 times.

THE RESULTS

We discovered that after 50 fully-loaded liftgate cycles (far more than typical daily use), the driving range decreased by only 4 miles. 

Because of the DC-DC charging from the main drive battery (68kWh), these 50 liftgate cycles were completed without turning the vehicle on. Even if the ignition is turned off, the high voltage drive battery will charge the 12V battery if it is in a low enough state of charge. In our test, the drive battery did not start charging the 12V battery via DC-DC charging until after we stopped the liftgate test¹.


The V2 Series Liftgate power requirement compared to the Ford E-Transit battery capacity.

We repeated the same cycle test for every ignition key position², charging status³, and battery level combination⁴. Our intention was to create a scenario in which the van would not perform adequately; in other words, we were attempting to fail, which we could not do. 

 

The E-Transit never showed signs of slowing down and far exceeded our expectations. As described earlier, the drive battery (68kWh) on the E-Transit replenishes the 12V battery when needed via an onboard DC-DC charger, and its capacity is more than 80 times that of the 12V battery, leaving you with a sufficient driving range and enough power to lift your loads with ease.

 

SO WHAT CHANGES FOR A TOMMY GATE ON AN EV?

The short answer… it changes things for the better. 

This type of charging is changing our outlook on how liftgates receive and continue to receive lifting power. With a traditional ICE vehicle, the car must be turned on to charge the 12V battery. This is not the case with the all-electric E-Transit, giving operators more power to lift load after load.


The above graphic indicates how the 2022 Ford E-Transit's battery system charges and how the liftgate uses power.

 

Bottom line, EV vehicles are a new frontier in our industry, changing how we look at features and benefits for commercial drivers. Our V2 Series liftgate is fully compatible with the 2022 Ford E-Transit, providing energy-efficient lifting solutions for your all-electric commercial vans and fleets.

Stay tuned for more EV tests from Tommy Gate. 

 

  1. This charging will also occur whenever the ignition is turned on or the vehicle is plugged into a wall charger.
  2. Ignition key positions tested: Off, Accessory, and On
  3. Charging status tested: plugged into a power source and not plugged into a power source.
  4. The drive battery was tested at 100%, 90%, and 80%. We found the driving range depleted at the same rate regardless of the battery level.

 

To stay up-to-date on everything Tommy Gate and how we are working on adding functionality to your commercial vehicles, sign-up for our newsletter HERE or follow us on social media. 

 

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