During Wired magazine’s 2016 conference in London, automotive technology company Charge unveiled a self-driving, electric delivery van that could be on UK streets as early as next year. The company says it only takes four hours for one person to build the vehicle, which means 10 people, over the course of two shifts per day, can assemble 10,000 of the vans in one year.
The vehicles are built using ultra-lightweight composite materials that Charge says significantly reduce the weight of the vehicle.
Charge adds that by combining composites with Charge’s custom built hardware, including power electronics and motors, it has been able to reduce operating costs by more than 50 percent. The company believes that in an industry driven by price and weight, innovations like these will help transform the highly complex logistics sector.
“We find trucks today totally unacceptable,” said Denis Sverdlov, CEO of Charge. “At Charge we are making trucks the way they should be – affordable, elegant, quiet, clean and safe. We are removing all the barriers to entry for electric vehicles by pricing them in line with conventional trucks, giving every fleet manager, tradesman or company, no matter how big or small, the opportunity to change the way they transport goods and make our towns and cities better places to live in.”
As Charge explains, all the vehicles will receive over-the-air updates like a smartphone. The Charge trucks also produce zero emissions for the first 100 miles they travel. For longer journeys, a dual mode can be used to ‘top up’ the battery and extend the range to 500 miles.
Charge says the vans will also meet new global electric vehicle legislation, including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s new “Direct Vision Standard” for heavy-duty vehicles, which will help make London’s streets significantly safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
For more details on Charge’s autonomous delivery van, watch the video below: