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First encounter Windrose EV——Wind is blowing East

While many Western manufacturers are struggling to get (enough) electric trucks ready for production or delivered, Windrose suddenly popped up this spring. Windrose you say? Yes, an entirely new Chinese brand with big ambitions, also for the Western European market. TTM.nl met Windrose and the people behind it.

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The Windrose EV visiting the Netherlands, at H.N. Post & Zn. in Pijnacker.

Suddenly, the Windrose EV was there. It was already driving in France for Decathlon and in Belgium Windrose Technology, as the company is officially called, managed to snare Gilbert de Clerq as a pilot customer. The port of Antwerp was looked at and Windrose became main sponsor of the basketball team Antwerp Giants. Meanwhile, the, for a Chinese, particularly frank and approachable CEO Wen Han did frequent spotlights and media appearances.

Pioneers

In short, Windrose wants to showcase itself. And when TTM.nl gets the chance to meet with both the manufacturer and the vehicle in Pijnacker, we don't say no. The venue: the business premises of H.N. Post & Zn. Earlier in the week, Windrose already met the e-pioneers of Breytner in Rotterdam. Marie-José and Jeroen Baartmans of Breytner are there again now, with Dé and Marco Post of H.N. Post. Together, the cousins have six e-trucks and are building a charging plaza that should accommodate 30 to 50 electric trucks in the future.

Tesla clone

While inside Windrose meets the transport companies, outside the Windrose EV truck comes to a halt in front of the premises. And it’s obvious: the Windrose does look very much like the Tesla Semi. "We know that and that's not a bad thing. We also see the Tesla Semi as our main competitor," says Eric Gauthier, responsible for Windrose's rollout in Europe. "European truck manufacturers? They can't do with their e-trucks what we can." With that, Gauthier seems to be rather arrogant, so let's take a look at the truck standing outside. First of all, it is a long and tall vehicle. The truck itself is 3.90m high and 8.10m long. After the already long cab, is a chassis with a total of three axles. On the rear axles there are two electric motors each, which are good for a peak power output of 1,400 hp. That is undeniably more than any European e-truck. The battery pack consists of three stacks of two battery modules each, good for six modules in total and 729 kWh at a voltage of 800 V. The battery pack, supplied by an external supplier, is sufficient for 670 km range at a total weight of 49 tonnes. These are impressive figures. But Tesla also screens impressive figures, but it still hasn't released the weight of its tractor. "We are better than Tesla," says Windrose's Howard Huang again. He takes the Windrose EV and us to the weighbridge at Renewi, a few streets down the block. A weight of 11 tonnes, which is comparable to European e-trucks, albeit 4x2 configurations. On top of that, Windrose is also very proud of the drag coefficient of its e-truck, which at 0.275 is considerably lower than that of the Semi (0.36).

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Boarding is, as with the Tesla Semi, via a spacious sliding door.

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Inside the chassis are six battery modules, good for 729 kWh.

Bed

The cabin of the Windrose EV is large. We grab the tape measure and measure 280 cm in length, 220 cm in width and 245 cm in height. The bed, with a thin mattress, is 88 cm wide. A second seat is now optionally fitted. Against the rear wall, we see three large cupboards. Under the sloping windscreen, there is a reasonably wide dashboard, with plenty of storage space and minimal number of buttons. However, we do see a lot of screens. An instrument display right behind the steering wheel and two large screens on either side of the steering wheel. The Windrose EV only has cameras so there are screens in the cabin for that too. A small camera is aimed at the driver. Not every driver is keen on that, and it is questionable whether you are allowed to watch a driver with a camera. That driver, again as with the Tesla, sits in a central seating position in the cabin. That is a possibility, we know from the Volta Zero, but it is not always practical. At toll booths or truck parking lots, for instance. Then you have to get out of your seat and go to the left window to grab a ticket. A door has Windrose EV on the right and look, it's just like the one on the Tesla Semi.

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The cabin is spacious, with a central seating position for the driver.

Off we go

After all the explanations about the Windrose EV, we get to join a ride. But to make it look a bit real, a loaded stone trailer from H.N. Post is hung behind the Windrose. We pass Renewi again and weigh a total of 29.7 kg. It is a short trailer and that is just as well, because with a six-axle tractor, not all corners are easy to take. However, the demo driver can find his way well in and around Pijnacker. We also take the motorway for a while. Like any other electric truck, the Windrose is quiet. However, this Chinese one is also very powerful, even as a 30-ton combination. Briefly, we get to drive it ourselves. We are used to the central seating position very quickly. The screens are easy to read and so are the camera screens. Behind the steering wheel, we find flippers that allow good regeneration at lower speeds. It's a pleasant first encounter with this Windrose.

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TTM.nl was able to take a short drive with the Windrose EV.

Seriously?

Two questions linger. First: what are you supposed to do in the Netherlands with a 6x4 long American style truck? The answer to this is given by Windrose itself. "In the fourth quarter of this year, we also intend to launch a European 4x2 specification. That will be an estimated 7.4 metres long. Because it has one less axle, it will also have less power, but still 520 hp. Weight will then decrease to around 9.5 tonnes. What remains is that the Windrose EV has both left and right charging ports and is ready for megawatt charging," explains Guang. The second question then: how seriously should we take Windrose? For now, the company seems to be looking for transport companies to partner with and additional investors. "That's right," says Eric Gauthier. "We are looking for partners. We need investment to set up a distribution and after-sales network. Financially, we have a solid foundation. We want to debut on the New York Stock Exchange later this year." Windrose is sincere and ambitious. How that ambition will play out is anyone's guess. However, the fact is that Windrose has an electric truck with superior specifications running in the Netherlands. And that is more than Tesla can say.

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The charging connection is already ready for megawatt charging.

Source:TTM.nl & Bestelauto

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