You can make electric vans out of diesel cars, because it’s a shame to throw them out

In the near future, many city centers in the Netherlands will no longer be available for diesel-powered vans. It is expensive to buy a new fleet of vehicles. And many diesel buses can last for years alone. Getting rid of it is a shame. Then conversion to an electric drive is the solution.

On Friday 17 June, the logistics service provider TSN-Groen and the developer of electric powertrains XYZ Dynamics presented their prototype of a Mercedes Sprinter, which has been converted from diesel drive to electric for about fifty guests.

By 2025, 30-40 cities should have a zone in the city center that does not emit CO.2, nitrogen dioxide and particles can be added. By 2030, only clean vans and trucks will be allowed to drive in dozens of city centers.

battery replacement system

To accelerate sustainable transport, Green Dynamics is the first party in the Netherlands to convert diesel vehicles into electric vehicles. Green Dynamics is an initiative of the Houten-based TSN-Groen and Eindhoven technology developer XYZ Dynamics. The diesel cars can optionally be equipped with a battery replacement system.

Green Dynamics focuses on small trucks, which are used by transport companies, construction companies, gardeners and municipalities. If the test is successful, TSN Groen wants to convert its entire fleet. There are about a hundred small trucks that need to be driven electrically.

Electric powered in the former diesel bus. © Green Dynamics

Ingenious piece of technology

There is a lot to consider when switching from diesel to electricity. “The dashboard needs to be redesigned,” Andries Vlot, CEO and founder of TSN-Groen, told his audience. “In addition, all meters tuned to a diesel engine will be replaced by equipment to monitor the electric drive.” He said that two employees worked on it for a year and a half, “but the result is there now”.

Of course, the necessary adjustments have also been made under the bonnet of the small truck. No more diesel engine and no big fuel tank. Vlot: “It’s an ingenious piece of technology that we desperately need.”

Professor of Urban Logistics at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences Walther Ploos van Amstel sees potential in the alternative, especially in the short term. “Manufacturers focus on the large segments, such as vans for the construction and installation sector. This conversion is new in this segment, trucks with superstructure. This can be continued in the coming years, especially now that the price of new electricity is still high. ”


According to the expert, the battery replacement system is innovative. “The point of power supply is that you always have to regulate your own power. This allows you to drive on. You make the operational deployability much higher. It is also sympathetic that you save the old car and can use it for another five or maybe eight years. ”

Board member Annemarie Vermaat made it clear that TSN-Green is making progress. The transport company now has hubs in the center, west, north and south of the country. There will soon be a hub in eastern Holland. This creates a nationwide network.

Vermaat’s colleague Vlot once again made clear what the company’s goal was a few years ago: to tackle pollution from plastic waste, start social projects (five people with distance to the labor market were hired for this project) and make TSN more sustainable.-Green. He pointed to the small truck behind him.

‘Do not just throw out’

‘That vehicle has driven 370,000 kilometers on diesel. We bought the new one. He is now six years old. Cabin and chassis are in order. You can not just reject that. Think of the shortage of raw materials, of labor. We would like to rebuild such a car. ”

Alex Pap, CEO of XYZ Dynamics, which realized the conversion together with TSN-Groen, spoke in this connection about ‘parts that talk to each other’. He mentioned cruise control, vehicle driveline, equipment integration. And then of course test. To drive more than 200 kilometers electrically, then inspection by RDW and EMC. “According to Pap, the electric small truck will be cost-neutral within two and a half years after the conversion.

CO2 emissions

Road transport contributes 28 percent to CO2emissions from the Dutch transport sector. Aviation and water transport (sea and inland shipping) each 35 per cent. Together, they cause 11 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions from the Dutch economy, according to Dutch Statistics. On the Daily CO.s website2 can you see how much CO2 is in the atmosphere at the moment. This is measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii at 3400 meters above sea level.

Due to the corona pandemic, emissions have temporarily fallen sharply but have now risen again. The importance of converting ordinary cars into electric cars has therefore increased significantly. From 2035, it will be banned in the EU from marketing cars that run on fossil fuels.

Analysts predict extra good times for the electric car in the short term due to the sharply rising petrol and diesel prices. Although it is still difficult for many to drive electrically if you do not have a charging station in front of the door. The limited range is also another obstacle.

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