VOLK Electric Trucks on the island of Helgoland
Tranquility, peace, nature and the vastness of the sea – all these are attributes that characterize the North Sea health resort island of Helgoland. Another special feature is that automobile traffic has been practically banned from the island – only electric vehicles are permitted. Under these circumstances, it’s no wonder to find VOLK electric trucks on the island too!
Right in the middle of the North Sea, approximately 70 kilometers away from the mainland, lies Germany’s only open sea island, Helgoland. Barely 1.500 inhabitants live on the main island of about one square kilometer. The majority earn their livelihood from tourism. The island is visited yearly by up to 500.000 day visitors and approx. 45.000 overnight guests.
VOLK Electric Platform Truck among the sandy dunes of Helgoland – The abbreviation “AG” on the vehicle license plate stands for the “special approval” given to the vehicle
Judging from these numbers, the supply and waste managements of the island quite obviously pose a logistical challenge of unusual proportions. There are around 150 electric vehicles in operation to carry the luggage of the overnight guests from the harbor to the hotels, bed & breakfasts and vacation flats. Restaurants, stores and, above all, the numerous duty-free shops are furnished supplies via electric platform trucks. As a result, it’s no surprise that the soft hum of the electric vehicles is almost omnipresent on the island. Only the emergency medical services, the fire department and the police use motorized vehicles with combustion engines.
This also explains why Helgoland has the cleanest air in all of Germany. Even at the summit of the Zugspitze, more dust particles fly through the air than here. The clear ocean air, enriched with airborne minerals, especially offers relief to people suffering from allergies, asthma and chronic breathing discomforts.
VOLK Electric Platform Truck from the 90’s – This vehicle belongs to Helgoland’s municipal authorities
What is good for vacationers and local inhabitants, however, is considerably harmful for the vehicles on the island. The lightly salted sea air exerts an extremely corrosive effect upon metal. For this reason, the vehicles VOLK has brought to the island are especially protected against corrosion. For example, the vehicle chassis and especially the driver’s cabs are completely hot-dip galvanized. “As a matter of fact, the galvanization of the cab was quite a technical challenge for us in the production”, explains VOLK Managing Director Dr. Matthias Baur. Since the steel sheets of the cab are thinner than the massive parts of the chassis, there is danger of warping during the dipping process, where temperatures of the zinc bath rise to several hundred degrees. This can only be prevented by sophisticated constructive measures. “Here our technicians tinkered around for quite some time until we found the optimal solution”, says Dr. Baur.
Another VOLK Electric Platform Truck from 1991 – Before coming to the island of Helgoland, the truck had been operated by the parks and garden department of VOLK’s hometown Bad Waldsee for more than 15 years
The fact that Helgoland is “car-free” does not imply that there are no traffic controls, however. It is only a few months ago when the news made the headlines that the local police had made a spot check on the island’s electric trolley drivers. “Some of the drivers were quite amazed when they were stopped by the police” explains Wolfgang Boe, spokesman of the harbor police Husum, which is also responsible for the island of Helgoland.
VOLK Fahrzeugbau GmbH
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