The cartridge battery is effective in reducing the operating costs of electric vehicles in the logistics industry

Last July, the Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies Corporation (CJPT) announced a partnership with Yamato Transport Co., Ltd. to begin marketing replaceable rechargeable cartridge batteries initially for carriers in its fleet.

Today, the technology as it develops has brought several benefits, including impacting costs and reducing vehicle downtime. The Yamato-CJPT consortium is part of a nationwide energy management strategy of the nation’s major automakers to achieve a carbon-neutral plan.

The use of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in the Japanese transport sector is not new, but is becoming very popular, especially for last-mile delivery. However, the popularity and growth of this electric vehicle segment poses several challenges – the most pressing is the long charging time, which is painfully slower than refueling conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles.

This long recharge time leads to increased logistics downtime (when vehicles and cargo are stationary) due to many vehicles being recharged at or around the same time.

The introduction of commercial BEVs is also expected to place an increasing burden on society as a whole, for example by increasing peak electricity demand at commercial sites due to concentrated charging by many non-operational vehicles.

Yamato engineers point out that the cartridge battery technology itself is already available, but the resulting battery swap schemes are still under consideration, primarily for safety reasons. The solution of simply removing one battery and replacing it with another can have disastrous consequences if not done correctly. Engineers want to provide protection against fire and mechanical problems (safe mounting and protection against external damage).

Yamato Transport wants to build a complete ecological delivery ecosystem in which the cartridge battery-based scheme is central. Since she wants to include all of her transmission and delivery partners in the program, she envisions a community that promotes the use of green energy.

According to the cartridge battery plan, by eliminating the gap between renewable energy production peaks and when commercial BEVs are charged, vehicle and battery use will be much more efficient. Since the expected charge rate must come primarily from solar and wind power sources, it is important to create a steady supply of batteries that charge when the sun is out and can be used overnight or into the sun. the following day.

Image courtesy of Cartridge Battery Swap Diagram

The company also intends to explore ways to increase the resilience of electric power supply communities, for example by delivering cartridge batteries in the event of a disaster.

The replaceable battery system can reduce the cost of BEVs. By reducing the number of batteries needed in a vehicle – for example, city driving versus driving on long highways – the impact on the initial purchase cost will be significant. Since technology can limit battery capacity (which in turn impacts longevity) by reducing the number of cartridges based on actual battery life needs, the purchase price can be lower and additional cartridges can be purchased as needs increase. This same model can be applied to a battery subscription service where additional batteries can be rented when needed.

The consortium’s partner engineers have also hypothesized that with removable batteries, the charging infrastructure will be less stressed. Charging can be done in one place and delivered to specific sites where vehicles can trade. It also means less downtime as it reduces the reload time of transport vehicles.

Finally, the system dramatically increases charging efficiency because replacement batteries can be recharged while the vehicles are in motion, reducing peak electricity demand.

The most important point for this program is that the cartridge batteries to be developed must be brand independent, which means that the batteries will be suitable for all vehicles. This standardization is essential to the success of the project. A successful example of this system is Taiwan’s Gogoro. With over half a million subscribers, the Gogoro Battery Swap Station has numerous swap and recharge kiosks that use batteries that will fit almost any type of electric motorcycle.

Thus, the boost for this system will be the standardization and commercialization of cartridge batteries, on which the consortium is already working. By manufacturing common cartridge batteries and charging systems for vehicles ranging from BEV commercial minivans to BEV light trucks, operating costs will be reduced and efficiency improved. For now, the cartridge battery solution will focus on commercial vehicle applications.

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