New retrofit tech launched to make diesel vans electric

Electricians and installers concerned about the cost and availability of buying a new electric van when there is still life in their existing vehicle now have an alternative: an advanced retrofit solution using innovative in-wheel motor (IWM) technology which fits to existing diesel vans to make them both electric and/or diesel at the touch of a button. 

Launched by BEDEO the new RE-100 Range Extender, part of its Reborn Electric range, enables organisations to retain those vehicles for longer while still transitioning to an electric future. 

A vehicle fitted with a RE-100 Range Extender is electric first, with 117km of electric range, making it ideal for ‘Last Mile’ deliveries. Its existing diesel mode can be used when needed for longer trips, switching to electric when entering a low-emission zone and densely populated areas to eliminate emissions and accelerate decarbonisation. 

At the heart of RE-100 are two in-wheel motors fitted to the rear axle of the vehicle. The motors are more compact, lighter, efficient and easier to install than an equivalent e-axle and powered by a 37kWh battery. No suspension modifications are required to the front or rear, which means there is no loss of ground clearance and no loss of load space or height.  

BEDEO works for businesses such as OCADO, DHL and TNT. Founder Osman Boyner said that with the concept of Reborn Electric he is providing a new business model for an industry caught between the twin goals of cost and sustainability.  

“Electric vans today don’t meet the needs of the market and even Euro VI diesel vans are still responsible for a disproportionate amount of carbon emissions. With the RE-100 we have created a new category of hybrid that not only meets the needs of the market but also accelerates transport decarbonisation.” 

The RE-100 is a hybrid in as much as it can have two modes of power – electric and diesel – but with the BEDEO technology the vehicle cannot be operated as diesel within controlled low emissions zones, unless in an emergency. Outside of controlled zones the driver is in control and can determine when to stay in electric for a more pleasant driving experience, or switch to diesel for longer distances.  

The ability to retrofit BEDEO’s IWM into an existing vehicle is an entirely new proposition: “BEDEO has leveraged this advanced IWM technology to develop the next generation of retrofit vehicles, unlimited by the constraints of a standard e-axle,” Osman added. 

Osman believes that while switching to an all-electric fleet is desirable, it is also very expensive and wasteful, requiring investment not only in the vehicles themselves, but also the infrastructure to support them: “While sustainability is, of course, a key driver, the end-to-end sustainability (whole lifecycle) of the vehicle also needs to be taken into account,” he continues.  

“It cannot be sustainable to replace a vehicle that has not reached the end of its useful working life, neither is it sustainable to replace not only the vehicle, but also the refrigeration units or bespoke fit-out that many of these vehicles have.  

“Retrofitting with electric overcomes these challenges and more, satisfying the need to reduce emissions in our city centres where the majority of the ‘Last Mile’ journeys are required, breathing new life into older vehicles.”