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The engine company. DEUTZ®


DEUTZ – The engine company.

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Fast-forwarding e-competence

Within the scope of its E-DEUTZ strategy, DEUTZ is acquiring the electric specialist Torqeedo and kick-starting the electrification of its engine range.

In dialogue: Dr Frank Hiller (Chief Executive Officer of DEUTZ AG) and Dr Christoph Ballin (Founder and CEO of Torqeedo GmbH)


Dr Hiller, DEUTZ is kick-starting its electrification project with its acquisition of Torqeedo. What is the defining feature of the new E-DEUTZ strategy?

Dr Hiller: DEUTZ is now taking the next logical step to further its role as a technological leader in the development of environmentally friendly, efficient diesel engines: we are expanding our product range to include hybrid and fully electric drives. The acquisition of Torqeedo has given us access to 12 years of practical experience and state-of-the-art expertise in the field of electric drives. It allows us to accelerate the market launch of our electric drives in the DEUTZ key segments and aim for market leadership in the segment of innovative off-highway drive systems.


How do you assess the market opportunities for electrified off-highway applications in the DEUTZ core business?

Dr Hiller: The vast majority of customers are currently engaging with the topic of electrification to some extent. Auxiliary drives will soon be electric – think of sower units in tractors, for instance. Without the need for mechanical transmission, we get increased efficiency. Thanks to the decreasing cost of electric parts and, in particular, batteries, hybrid drives will be technically feasible and economically reasonable in a lot of cases. The reduced fuel consumption will decrease the total cost of ownership and improve CO2 emissions. For applications with low power requirements, we are optimistic about the use of fully electrified engines based on modern lithium-ion batteries. And there are more aspects worth considering: noise emission in cities, for instance.

At the same time, I would like to emphasise that our clean diesel engines will be indispensable for many years to come. Their high output is necessary for off-highway applications. Our E-DEUTZ strategy does not affect our commitment to diesel engines in any way. Instead, we are supplementing our product portfolio in order to offer our customers the drives that are most reasonable for their particular application and load profile.

Dr Ballin, which applications are best suited for future E-DEUTZ drives?

Dr Ballin: DEUTZ supplies engines for a wide range of machines that have wildly different requirements. The suitability of hybrid and fully electrified drives crucially depends on their application and the resulting load profile. We are confident that our electric drives will be excellently suited for applications in low- and medium-output ranges with fluctuating power requirements or a minimal load profile. As part of a hybrid unit, electric drives can support the combustion engine by providing additional energy during peaks. During idle phases, the electric engine – which also functions as a generator – can recharge the battery. Fully electric drives can be used for low-output applications, such as forklifts.


Dr Hiller, when will the first electrified DEUTZ engines enter serial production?

Dr Hiller: Our plan is to launch the first products from our E-DEUTZ strategy in around two years. We assume that we will be generating five to ten per cent of our revenue with hybrid or fully electrified drives in five years. Of course, the E-DEUTZ strategy is also based on the wishes of our customers who would like to use an electrified drive. This is why we will soon be starting serial development together with our partners.


How do you plan to carry out the technology transfer from electric boat drives to electrified off-highway appli-cations in DEUTZ’ current core business?

Dr Hiller: We consider Torqeedo as an innovative catalyst of the E-DEUTZ strategy. We use the design, integration and systems expertise and experience of our new colleagues in all areas: our joint development processes, field experience, the e-technology supplier network, et cetera. This will considerably accelerate the market launch of electrified DEUTZ off-highway drives.


Will DEUTZ be establishing new “e-competence” at its existing sites, too?

Dr Hiller: We are investing around EUR 100 million in our E-DEUTZ strategy, which includes the acquisition of Torqeedo. We will be establishing resources in the field of e-technology at both DEUTZ and Torqeedo. Building competences together with Torqeedo is a faster, less risky approach than going it alone. Ultimately, this step will strengthen DEUTZ for the future and, in turn, safeguard existing jobs.


Dr Ballin, you have called Torqeedo a “Tesla for the water“. What sets your products apart?

Dr Ballin: When we founded our company twelve years ago, there were no technologically advanced electric engines in the marine segment. We took advantage of this situation and developed the first high-grade, marketable boat drives. E-mobility is our way of life. We are convinced of our products and their performance. Our hybrids and fully electric drives boast a great performance, excellent efficiency and low noise emissions. These qualities have made us the market leader in the field of marine electromobility.


How will Torqeedo develop as a brand?

Dr Ballin: Having entered the market as a start-up business, we have now reached a point where we can be more successful with a strong partner. We have sold more than 70,000 drive system and are clearly the number one on the market. The same goes for our market presence: we are represented in more than 50 countries and export 75 per cent of our products. Our partnership with DEUTZ will allow us to reduce purchasing and manufacturing costs while magnifying synergies in sales and service. We will be able to take full advantage of our potential and keep growing. Beyond that, we are pleased to apply our technology to off-highway drives and assume a pioneering role in the field of e-mobility together with DEUTZ.


Dr Hiller, what is your opinion about the brand Torqeedo, and how will Dr Ballin and Dr Plieninger support the DEUTZ Group in the future?

Dr Hiller: Torqeedo is the uncontested market leader in the field of electric boat drives. The company owns a strong, fully established brand in this segment and will be continuing its successful growth trajectory under the name of Torqeedo. Dr Christoph Ballin and Herr Dr Ralf Plieninger will continue their management of Torqeedo. In addition, they will be appointed Head of Strategy and Head of Electrification, respectively, at DEUTZ AG and assume additional tasks in the top management of the company. They will actively shape the operative business of both Torqeedo and DEUTZ. I am greatly looking forward to working with them personally.


How will the E-DEUTZ strategy change the product range, and what can DEUTZ customers expect in the future?

Dr Hiller: Our goal is to position DEUTZ as the market leader in the field of innovative drive systems. In addition to our established products, we will be offering our customers hybrid and fully electric solutions. By combining our own competences with Torqeedo’s expertise in the field of electric drives, battery management, performance electronics and system integration, we are ahead of the competition and optimistic about our chance on the market. Our cus-tomers can look forward to a considerably broader product range with a clear commitment to electrification.