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Milestone –

VOLK delivers its 4.000th vehicle

Bad Waldsee, 02.12.2013 – In times where financial safety nets quickly reach amounts in the 1.000 billion Euros, many people are increasingly losing the intuitive feel for large numbers. It used to be different. Already in ancient times, numbers beyond 1.000 were unimagin-
able. The number system of old Rome ended with the number MMMCMXCIX or 3.999. The number 4.000 seemed so unbelievably large that it was absolutely unnecessary. And so it came to pass that the number
4.000 was used in the Roman Empire as a synonym for very large numbers. Historians denote this situation with the somewhat cumbersome term “Superlative of the Quantity”.

And so it was reported, for example, in the Bible on the wondrous feeding of 4.000, where no more than seven loaves of bread were required or from the Philistine War where 4.000 men lost their lives. And it is certainly no coincidence that according to biblical lore, the birth of Christ was exactly 4.000 years after Adam and Eve.

Milestone – VOLK delivers its 4.000th vehicle

The number 4.000 – The VOLK EFZ 80 N completed in November 2013 features a drawbar pull of 50.000 N and is one of the strongest electric tow tractors in the world

This tradition, which later caused some confusion, remained into the early Middle Ages. According to the Catherine Legend of the 10th century, 4.000 pagans died and even here the number 4.000 is not a historical fact but rather is understood as the embodiment of an unimaginable number (and for this reason, not accurately calculated).

You must be asking yourself what this has to do with industrial trucks. Sometimes, you have to go out of the way to put the meaning of an occasion in the right perspective, even if it is a walk through western cultural history. When VOLK recently delivered its 4.000th vehicle, something needed to be said for quite a special event.

Milestone – VOLK delivers its 4.000th vehicle

Time machine – With its 20.000 N drawbar pull, the VOLK Electric Tow Tractor EFZ 35 N was one of the strongest electric towing vehicles on the market in 1989

To compare: The largest IKEA store in Germany in
Berlin-Lichtenfelde only has 2.000 automobile parking spaces available. For a meeting of all the VOLK vehicles ever built, it would be hopelessly undersized. Also in a city such as Erfurt, a meeting of VOLK vehicles could also not take place. The Thuringian capital only has a total of 3.000 parking places in seven parking garages
in the city center. And even the spectacular parking garage for the new trade center in Stuttgart with its total length of 336 meters over the interstate A8 only offers
4,000 places in six parking decks. It would therefore be full to the last space.

The 4.000th vehicle, with the vehicle identification num-
ber 59.4000 is an EFZ 80 N Electric Tow Tractor. With a maximum drawbar pull of 50.000 N and a towing capa-
city of 80 tons, it is currently one of the strongest electric tow tractors in the world. By twist of fate, simultaneous-
ly with the completion of the 4.000th vehicle, the 1.000th vehicle was returned to the plant for a complete over-
haul. A VOLK Electric Tow Tractor Type EFZ 35 N from

the year 1989 with the vehicle number 35.1000. With a maximum drawbar pull of 20.000 N and a towing capacity of 35.000 kg, it was the strongest available towing vehicle with electric drive on the market 25 years ago.

This coincidence offered the opportunity for a celebration and at the same time, a look back at the technical develop-
ments over the last 20 years. In 1989, while the transistor control and the DC technology still dominated, the unstop-
pable rise of the AC technology began in the middle of the 90s. This meant that finally the inconvenient changing of the brushes which kept previous generations of mechanics busy was stopped; in truth, the door was opened to a totally new world in view of performance, driving comfort and safety. The networking of several traction controllers in
a Master/Slave configuration makes possible maximal currents today of up to 2.000 ampere which corresponds to

a electric driving power of around 160 kW. Thereby, a point has long been reached where the limits are no longer predefined by the control technology but rather by the size of the battery available.

An increasingly complex programming and the growing networking of several controls enables a multitude of functions today that just a few years ago were dreams
of the future even in automobiles. Electronic traction assistants and differential locks are just as much reality today in VOLK Electric Tow Tractors as automatic park-
ing brakes and anti-lock brakes Also in terms of driving comfort, much has been done in the last 20 years: because three-phase motors can be more precisely controlled, they allow particularly sensitive driving. Changing the driving direction can also be realized smoother than with common DC motors. This is espe-
cially important when the operating conditions call for precise shunting in tight spaces. Vehicle cabs today are no longer welded to the vehicle frame but by using a hydraulic attenuator element, it is decoupled from the

Milestone – VOLK delivers its 4.000th vehicle

Control technology in the year 1989 – Very soon, only the older genera-
tion will remember the clicking of contactors which, in years past, ac-
companied a change in driving direction

chassis. Suspension seats and air-conditioning are becoming increasingly ordered extras. The tow tractor driver of 20 years ago could have only dreamed of this.

It took almost 20 years in the seventies and eighties from the production of the first vehicle up to the thousandth. After a further 20 years, the 4.000 mark has been exceeded. And of course, we have big plans for the next 20 years. The parking garage for the Allianz Arena in Munich, one of the largest parking garages in Germany, has 10.000 parking spaces.

Milestone – VOLK delivers its 4.000th vehicle

Control Technology in the year 2013 – The intelligent networking of se-
veral controls allows enormous performance data today and an unprece-
dented level of driving comfort and safety


In ancient Greece, this number, by the way, carried the designation “Myriad” and was regarded similarly to the number 4.000 by the Romans as the synonym for an uncountable number. Still today, the word “myriad” means in English “uncountable” or “immense number”. But, we will talk about this again in a few years...

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