A new ‘last mile’ logistics concept
Electrically-powered cargo bikes are a future-proof solution for the transport sector. Developed specifcally for the route between distribution centres and customers – referred to as the last mile – these achieve higher average speeds than cars or vans. In addition, they are more versatile and are emission-free at a local level, as well as constituting a quiet form of transport.
To produce the energy for this mobile application, DLR has developed the FCREX (fuel cell range extender) fuel cell module. This can be refuelled in a matter of seconds, and has a higher range and roughly twice the lifetime of battery-powered systems. The fuel cell stack is made of robust bipolar metal plates. It also has an innovative cold-start module that uses metal hydrides to pre-heat the system, without drawing energy from it and thus reducing the range. This means that the FCREX module can be put into use quickly and reliably even at low temperatures. Hilly regions, heavy loads, cargo that needs to be refrigerated, and even heated driver’s cabins no longer present any problem for the DLR fuel cell module, which can cope with all such demands at any time of year. Due to the signifcantly higher amount of energy available, the vehicle load is now the limiting factor, rather than the range, which allows more practical logistics chains to be introduced.
The FCREX module will be used for the MovR cargo bikes operated by the company RYTLE GmbH. The underlying logistics concept consists of four components: the alternatively powered cargo bike (MovR), a standardised transport container (BOX), the distribution station (HUB) and the digital operating system (APP). With this intelligent software, all of the hardware components are networked within the cloud, and thus work closely together.
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Dorothee Rück · E-Mail: email@example.com · DLR.de/en