Super-efficient battery charging technology
(Wels, Austria) A Bavarian automobile manufacturer has invested nearly half a billion euros in production facilities for its new volume model at its headquarters in Bavaria. A small but substantial part of this investment was spent on installing a central charging station in the bodywork shop for the batteries of more than 100 electric forklift trucks. New approaches to construction were also adopted during this process.
Between 2009 and 2012, the BMW Group invested nearly half a billion euros in Munich for the production of the new series. The investment went into several areas, including new manufacturing facilities.
To facilitate production of the new BMW 3 Series, a completely new production hall was erected over the old bodywork building, which was too low. The old building was then gradually dismantled. A new logistics centre for vehicle assembly has also been established. Rebuilt and extended production lines and numerous forklifts help integrate the individual areas into the production flow. As a result, numerous centralised and decentralised charging stations are scattered around the site to supply the traction batteries with the required energy.
To prevent the electric vehicles from losing valuable time and energy travelling the long distances to and from the charging stations, an additional charging station was installed to service the 104 electric vehicles used by the bodywork shop. It went into operation in January 2012. The bodywork stacker drivers travel to this centralised station to change the battery when the residual battery capacity reaches approximately 20%. The drivers change the batteries themselves.
A first: the two-part charging station
The new charging station, fitted out by Austrian battery charging systems specialist Fronius, uses an innovative concept: the stations for charged batteries and batteries that need charging are on the ground floor, while the associated chargers are located directly underneath in the basement. This arrangement has several advantages. The space containing the batteries is more compact and seals the working environment off from the oxyhydrogen produced during charging. Furthermore, the chargers cannot be damaged by batteries that are attached to the crane hook that may swing out.
The battery room is equipped with safety devices that exceed the requirements set out in the legislation. BMW therefore well exceeds the mandatory fivefold levels of air circulation. The room also has a hydrogen detector.