It’s a pretty baby, 9m long and weighing over 11 tons, that silently roams the French Alps to groom the ski slopes.
This snow groomer’s diesel engine (almost 13L in displacement) has been replaced by electric motors, which are more reliable and far more efficient than the original combustion engine. The result is a 100% electric machine, consuming four times less energy and with a range of 6 to 7 hours, the equivalent of a night’s work on the slopes.
Romain Dupon, head of the eponymous company based in Pontcharra (France), is proud of his teams who, after several years’ hard work, have developed the world’s first 100% electric snow groomer.
For the battery, PowerTech Systems collaborated with CM Dupon to provide the energy storage solution needed to power the vehicle.
The PowerModule product range met all the project’s requirements: high energy density, extreme modularity to integrate the packs into the cramped space available under the bodywork, ease of installation, and real-time monitoring of the installation.
Our company has been selected and enrolled in a new innovation project led by the European Union. We are proud to participate in the MARBEL project, whose objective is to develop a vehicle battery that meets the acceptance criteria for the future, namely ecodesign, modularity, use of recycled and environmentally friendly materials, additive manufacturing, ultra-fast charging, and last but not least low manufacturing costs.
Our contribution in this project is major since we will be in charge of developing a distributed and ultra-communicating BMS system for the management, control and piloting of this new generation battery.
The ultimate goal of this project is to produce this battery of the future for a car model of the FCA (FIAT-CHRISLER) group from the end of 2024.
With the goal of accelerating the mass market take-up of ultra-high-performance batteries for battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrids (PHEV), MARBEL project (Manufacturing and Assembly of modular and Reusable Battery for Environment-friendly and Lightweight mobility) will base its approaches, solutions and innovations around the versatility concept as an axis within the entire project. It will focus on the need for fast charging and long-lasting batteries to boost end user demands, while applying high modularity and easy assembly and developing novel testing methodologies for safety, profitability and circularity.
MARBEL will design, develop and demonstrate new modular, compact, lightweight and high-performance battery packs together with flexible and robust battery management systems for these BEV and PHEV, while maintaining safety levels, allowing fast, high quality and cost-effective large-scale production and following the “made by Ecodesign” principles. A set of modules easy to pack together and to disassemble would ease the manufacture and dismantling of different battery configurations sharing the same production process and common elements.
MARBEL will develop and qualify future and innovative performance- and safety-related test procedures of developed functionalities such as the use of miniaturised housings, a flexible test-bench simulating integration-in-EV conditions (electric Vehicle In-the-Loop, eVIL) and artificial intelligence as a tool to reduce the time of laboratory experiments.
MARBEL aims at a triple win, for people, business and planet.
MARBEL is expected to generate scientific and technological impacts, boost the appearance and consolidation of new players (especially SMEs) and business models, reinforce the European position in the global battery market, and contribute to environmental and societal targets.
In addition, MARBEL approach is based on the following pillars:
Advanced battery packaging using a Design for Assembly (DfA) and Disassembly (DfD) methodology.
Lightweight and sustainable battery packaging.
Solutions and processes for the sustainable dismantling and 2nd life.
Ultra-fast charging strategies and enhanced thermal management.
Future performance & safety-related test procedures.
MARBEL consortium is made of 16 partners from 8 different European countries, representative of the aimed multi-stakeholder collaboration and business drivers required for developing the battery pack of the future.
In the recent presentation of Tesla’s 2nd quarter results, Elon Musk confirmed that lithium-iron-phosphate batteries (often referred to as LFP) will play a key role in powering the company’s larger vehicles, starting with the Shanghai Model 3 :
Total vehicle efficiency has gotten good enough — with Model 3 for example — that we actually are comfortable having an iron phosphate battery pack in Model 3 in China. That will be in volume production later this year. So we think that getting a range that is in the high 200s — almost 300 miles — with an iron phosphate pack taking into account a whole bunch of of powertrain and other vehicle efficiencies.
And that that frees up a lot of capacity for things like the Tesla Semi and other projects that require higher energy density [batteries]. So you have two supply chains that you can tap into: iron phosphate or nickel-based chemistries.
The fundamental advantage of LFP is that, compared to the nickel-based cathodes traditionally used, its main constituent minerals – iron, phosphates and, more recently, traces of manganese – are very abundant and relatively inexpensive. Iron ore, for example, is mined at a volume of nearly 3 billion metric tons each year, a thousand times more than the approximately 2.5 million tons of nickel that are mined annually.
Then there are the well-known problems surrounding cobalt, with ethically complex supply chains, limited quantities mined (most of which are already claimed for battery manufacturing), and high prices.
Tesla uses at least two varieties of nickel-cobalt batteries, from Panasonic (NCA) and LG Chem (NCM), and has tried to minimize the amount of cobalt needed, but there is always some exposure to cobalt, and exposure to nickel is obviously unavoidable, it is the key ingredient in this class of battery chemistry.
Overall, therefore, key minerals for LFP batteries are much more abundant, and prices are cheaper (and more stable) than those for nickel-based battery minerals. This translates into the fact that LFP batteries are already slightly cheaper than nickel-based batteries per kWh. Because the constituent minerals are so inexpensive, and the energy density of LFP cells is constantly improving, this price per kWh could drop even further in the coming years.
Inaugurated in September 2019, the Fludis boat is equipped with PowerTech’s PowerRack Lithium battery system, allowing it to sail 100% electrically in the centre of Paris.
This sustainable urban logistics project is a solution to the difficulties encountered by urban freight transport operators, by offering a warehouse boat capable of handling the stages of route preparation, hosting logistics teams, as well as transporting the bicycle-cargoes used for the last kilometer.
Thanks to the rational use of this “warehouse vessel”, and its independence from loading / unloading infrastructures on the quayside, and the dimensions compatible with the canals, the system can be adapted to each agglomeration crossed by a navigable waterway.
The Fludis boat has been designed to have the lowest possible environmental impact: 100% electric propulsion with batteries. The boat also has a generator onboard to extand the range and to remain autonomous where grid is not available. At the port of Gennevilliers, it can be connected to electricity at the quayside. Consumption is estimated at 70 litres of off-road diesel per day for the trip between Gennevilliers and Paris.
The firm IKEA will benefit from this new type of boat. The Swedish company had opened a depot in February in the port of Gennevilliers to get closer to the capital. Cargo bicycles, which can carry up to 250 kg, will deliver to customers in the central districts (from the 1st to the 7th arrondissements). “30% of orders can be processed,” Ikea explains.
This 100% electric boat (propulsion, on-board equipment, kitchens, etc.) is powered entirely by our Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, representing a stored energy of 720 kWh divided into two totally independent PowerRack banks.
The PowerRack battery system, certified by Bureau Veritas in early 2018, consists of 24 cabinets of 30kWh in 700V DC, connected in parallel. These batteries represent a weight of about 9 tons on board. This cabinet system limits floor space and allows energy to be stacked over the entire height of the hull, making the installation compact and integrated into the boat.