Is a Cybervan the best EV hauling option?

JBee

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Tesla Cybertruck Is a Cybervan the best EV hauling option? tesla-model-v-concept-rendering-flaunts-a-family-van-that-s-cooler-than-a-cybertruck-225374_1


I think with the advent of EV's people need to re-adjust their expectations and form factor for hauling gear, tools and RV and simply get a EV "van" instead for hauling on a trailer.

In essence on first principles, a vehicle is simply a platform which can move from place to place. A magic carpet of sorts. The critical thing is that to do so it must displace air, and the amount of air, and way it displaces air, is the main reason it consumes energy. Obviously there is rolling resistance to content with along with drivetrain losses and charging times, but otherwise, largely altitude gain is not detrimental to range and energy use, unless your trip ends at a much higher altitude. So if aerodynamics is so pivotal in vehicle design, why isn't more emphasis placed on providing the best use of frontal area and shape, for any given sized vehicle?

A van encloses all of the load space, and therefore never changes it's aerodynamic drag.
The only thing that will change is the rolling resistance depending on weight, which is much less significant on reducing range.
It also largely replaces the need for towing in many situations, but also when it does need to tow, offers a better slipstream for trailers to operate in.

The question here is what size van would capture the most amount of market in the EV space, given that transportation of goods and services (trades etc) is just as large as the transportation of people? Does there need to be a small, medium and large sized van, preferably on the same platform to keep costs down? Can they be modular enough so they can change for the weekend or during the life cycle of the vehicle to keep lifetime costs down?

A van is clearly a much better form to create a "trade" vehicle, in that all tools, materials and deliveries are protected from elements and fingers, in a locked up undercover area inside the vehicle. A van is much more common in Europe for that exact reason. I suppose that's what you get for having cheap fuel for too long, in that the truck format is probably the worst form factor for achieving decent and consistent EV range, unless the load fits under the vault cover and you can get the truck aerodynamics really good?

Tesla Cybertruck Is a Cybervan the best EV hauling option? 2_792x594-1


My van which is a VW Crafter like the above has the same Cd value (0.33) as a CT, but can load 14cbm (494cuft) load volume, the CT is just 1.9cbm (67cuft) in comparison, on similar but 3ft longer footprint. This is a large version of this van but is essentially a box trailer volume included in the vehicle envelope itself, with no trailer required. Different size vans are achieved with the same platform, simply by changing roof height and vehicle lengths, so that you could have any size you need down to a family sized van or SUV that also fits in a undercover garage.

The frontal area is obviously also larger depending on the version which will contribute to drag, as can also the length, but skin friction is negligible at highway speeds, and I can still reverse park this in a normal car parking lot, which is obviously impossible with ANY form of trailer behind ANY EV.

Obviously, drive thru's and parking garages are not an option with the high roof version, but if you need space to haul tools or gear, or have a RV, there is nothing better to keep that EV kWh consumption in check. A low roof and the shorter wheel base option could still fit anywhere a CT does or even a MY, but have significantly more utility and useful volume, all without the EV range aero implications from towing a trailer.

The other benefit is that it's not speed limited to trailer towing speeds, neither less safe because of the trailer, and doesn't have to contend with the limitations of towing a trailer for driving around in town, or off-road etc with a 4x4 version. There are ways to make van formats just as capable off-road, if not more so. Large off-road wheels are a compromise that reduces range on EV's, so it's best to keep both the wheel sizes in check, and keep the tyre options as broad as possible to cover every possible use case.

Tesla Cybertruck Is a Cybervan the best EV hauling option? Crafter-brunt-bar-wing-kombilife-australia2


One obvious compromise with the Cybertruck is that the aerodynamic shape of the vehicle was severely limited by it's triangular form and straight SS panels. This was a intentional design choice that biased the vehicle around the desire to use thick, unpainted SS panels for various reasons, including durability, cost and supporting Starship material costs. But with that out of the way, maybe a refocus on EV range and use would result in something more fit for purpose when it comes to moving things and people from place to place.

Without a shape constraint from use of these materials, vans could be even more aerodynamic if various attention is paid to the form, like this 2006 Mercedes Bionic with a Cd of just 0.19:

Tesla Cybertruck Is a Cybervan the best EV hauling option? 1705224591453


That leaves us with the options for different sizes and bodies.

Interestingly, in the last CES Kia also announced a range of EV Vans that basically provides the ability for the same skateboard platform to be configured for various size vans and body shapes, not only in production, but also after you have bought it and have it in your garage. I think this form of "modularity" is really key in this space, in that it is really unnecessary, and expensive, to own and operate multiple vehicles for various tasks. Whereas it's fairly easy to change different bodies for tasks as they arise instead.

Tesla Cybertruck Is a Cybervan the best EV hauling option? Kia PV 5 Van Front



Tesla Cybertruck Is a Cybervan the best EV hauling option? kia-concept-pv5-2023-06-min-1400x933

Tesla Cybertruck Is a Cybervan the best EV hauling option? Kia-PBV-CES-booth-4-scaled



It's fairly clear that there is considerable resistance in changing social norms, and the relevance of "trucks" as a vehicle form factor is really not ideal for any vehicle where aerodynamics are so important, especially given the compromises being made when towing where it's very complicated to control the trailer airflow efficiently.

But even if you were to add a trailer to this type of "van EV", the towing range reduction would not be reduced as much as it would with a truck shape, in that the van offers better aerodynamics for trailers by already managing the airflow into a larger area, which allows a trailer to fit better in the slipstream and use less energy overall. Further, using a variable length hitch which would bring the trailer closer when driving straight, this could be the direction EV's develop when it comes to towing, and trying to produce comparable ranges to ICE.

I think it will be inevitable that vans will become the dominant formfactor for EV vehicles in the future that need volume and space to haul things and people, and act as a RV or other use. This is simply because vehicle shape and formfactor need to closely follow the aerodynamic constraints to achieve efficiency and with it achieve useful range. Driving around a EV with a "parachute" trailer attached, or paying even more for a trailer with a EV drivetrain or range extending battery, seems like a poor use of resources in comparison to simply getting the formfactor right in the first place, to achieve these things with one vehicle instead.

Let me know what you think, and if or why a VAN format will become the dominant EV formfactor.

If so what would you like to see in a Tesla Cybervan?
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YDR37

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The Cybertruck gets all the hype, but In the long run, the new Rivian commercial vans may prove to be a much more significant milestone in the evolution of the electric truck.

The Rivian vans look dorky, not cool or futuristic. They won't stop a bullet. They won't beat a Porsche at the drag strip. They don't have amazing range. They are no good off-road.

But if you need to stop and go around town all day long, making deliveries or working at local job sites, seems like these things would be ideal. Charge them at the yard overnight, the electricity costs less than gas or diesel, the range is sufficient for local work, and maintenance is cheap. What's not to like? Maybe that's why Amazon has told Rivian to build 100,000 of them.

Electric pickups aren't poised to kill off the ICE trucks that they compete with. They aren't game-changers, at least not yet. But electric delivery vans just might be. It may be unusual to spot an electric delivery van now, but in a few years, it may be unusual to spot one that is still ICE..

If so what would you like to see in a Tesla Cybervan?
There won't be a Tesla commercial van. Elon only wants to make vehicles that look cool and go fast. And that doesn't work for this market. It's fun to imagine Tesla producing a sexy futuristic UPS truck, perhaps made of stainless steel with a brown wrap, that can accelerate like a Ferrari. But it's unlikely that UPS would see it as practical.
 
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As fabulous , outrageous and fast as the CT is, the comprimizes it makes dooms it as a work truck. The form limitations imposed by using SS alone somewhat kneecap the quest for low CD. Granted the achieved CD with SS is impressive.

Perhaps a majority of members of this forum would have preferred a CT with a little less emphasis on acceleration and more on utility and efficiency. The huge pickup and van marketplace has only a narrow niche for CYBER. The CT beautifully fills that niche but will suffer in the broader market.
 

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You just have to wait for the RWD .By then hopefully battery tech will increase range.
 

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The total fleet for UPS, Fedex and Amazon seem to be around 250,000. A large number of these are well
That's less than 50,000 large trucks a year
The Amazon van uses a 136 kWh battery which they just changed to a new chemistry and is hoping to get 150 miles.


Looking at the VW Crafter, it appears to have a total penetration of around 350,000 units. If you look at a lifetime of only 5 years, that's only 70,000 units per year.
Most of the commercial vans have very limited ranges and 150 miles is lot more than many ever use.

The number of vans that are out there are relatively small, similar to the Model S and Model X production levels.

Some sort of van type think is already on the timeline for Tesla, after the low-cost vehicle.
 

cvalue13

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As you well know, I’m big on a good BEV van


The question here is what size van would capture the most amount of market in the EV space
I’d modify this question, to instead:

given Tesla’s strong lean towards minimizing vehicle variation, what existing Tesla is the best platform for getting to a van platform

The answer is pretty obvious, and I think exactly the plan at Tesla

you basically just take the CT rearmost upright casting pillar, and extend it further upwards. All you have to do then is alter the mid-cab structure to not slope downward from the peak, but instead extend straight back to that upright casting pillar - by just raising the c-pillar.

Tesla Cybertruck Is a Cybervan the best EV hauling option? IMG_8175


I’d bet that’s among the reasons the CT’s rear castings are modular the way they are - you just weld on whatever piece you need to this rear upright placement platform:


Tesla Cybertruck Is a Cybervan the best EV hauling option? IMG_8176
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