Wiring for sustainability

As sustainability is becoming a key issue in transport and logistics, special purpose electric vehicles are spreading. For instance, a Swedish truck manufacturer is developing versatile light electric trucks and resort vehicles. inContext contributes with expert electrical systems knowledge.

Strongly supporting the electrification of the mobility sector, inContext engineers have integrated hybrid drivetrains and charging capabilities into numerous vehicle types, building on their knowhow in designing cable harnesses for trucks and buses with conventional drivetrains. And what’s more, inContext recently moved into new territory, entering the electric boat industry, designing a complete wire harness for a new high-end electric luxury cruiser on hydrofoils.

As one of Scandinavia’s leading consultancy companies specialized in vehicle cable harnesses, inContext is proud to be part of the push towards sustainability in transport and logistics and is continuously looking to expand its portfolio in that area.

Recently, yet another promising project could be added to the list, commissioned by a Swedish light truck company.

Growing demand

There is a growing demand for special purpose Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV). For instance, as more and more European cities are limiting diesel truck traffic in city centers, the need for electric alternatives are rising. In addition to that, many cities and municipalities are investing in electric work vehicles to reduce emissions.

Also, the hotel and resort sector is on the lookout for more sustainable transport solutions. Here, small electric trucks secure clean internal transport at resorts, tourist excursions, airport transfer etc.

Johan Bergström, section manager at inContext, explains:

– Our customer is collaborating with a subsidiary of a large hotel group operating across the globe, including Mexico, Brazil, and the Caribbean. The subsidiary had already developed its own light BEVs for internal mobility at resorts, and now wanted to work together with our customer to develop new vehicle models.

Refurbishing 100+ vehicles

In addition to designing new vehicles, the Swedish truck manufacturer was also commissioned to refurbish more than 100 existing BEVs already built by the subsidiary. Due to a long period of standstill because of the corona pandemic, the cars’ batteries had drained and required replacement. To solve cabling issues on this fleet of cars, inContext was brought in for assistance. 

– We have a strong reputation in the vehicle industry for in-depth knowledge of electronics and cable harness design. It’s always satisfying to see how that reputation is spreading to new customers we haven’t previously worked with. Especially when there are sustainability aspects involved.

40% new cabling

Replacing the batteries of the 100+ existing BEVs required new wiring, as the new battery packs and their battery management system were different from the old ones. According to Johan Bergström, around 40 % of the chassis cabling had to be renewed. In addition to that, inContext was asked to do reverse engineering on the entire cabling of the existing vehicles, as it turned out that the technical documentation of the harness was incomplete. To do that, a complete cable harness was removed from one of the vehicles and sent to Sweden, where inContext engineers disassembled the harness while documenting everything thoroughly in an electrical schematic. They also improved cable protection, color coding, splice positions etc., to meet automotive industry standards.

– We also did 11 complete main harnesses fitted to the new batteries and battery management system. These harnesses were to be installed in vehicles that had to be ready in time for a special launch event. In addition to that we built several variants of cabling to be used with the new batteries for the remainder of the 100+ vehicles.

Several formboards

inContext works with the software E3 from Zuken to produce both schematics and formboards. Most of the cable harness assembly is made on formboards to ensure good quality together with higher production speed. It also improves the working environment for the harness engineers as they can stand and work in an ergonomic way. After laying the wires at the formboard it’s time for marking, crimping, protection, and connectors to be assembled as well as electrical testing. A complete main harness takes about one week to finish.

According to Johan Bergström, inContext is proud of helping to develop high-quality electric trucks and resort vehicles.

- These light trucks may be considerably smaller compared to the heavy trucks and buses we usually work with. But when it comes to reducing our environmental footprint, they are no less important. There are so many areas in which these small vehicles can make a big difference.
Johan Bergström
Section manager

Written by Arne Vollertsen

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