Nissan Recycling EV Batteries for Use in Factory Logistics

The evolution of battery and autonomous technology within the automotive industry is not restricted just to the vehicles on the road, although that is where much media attention is focused. The tech is, in fact, being utilised within the factory and manufacturing setting and Nissan has given an insight into its use of them through its automated guided vehicles, or AGVs.

These AGVs are used to deliver parts to workers in a manufacturing facility, and to deliver those components along a predetermined magnetic route as vehicles are built. This saves the worker time as there is no need for them to search for a component themselves, and it also boosts a plant’s efficiency.

At its Oppama plant, south of Tokyo, Nissan uses more than 700 AGVs, and across its global network of factories, the company says it uses more than 4000 of the units.

The AGVs uses sensors to move autonomously, while power comes from repurposed batteries from the Nissan LEAF EV.

The first-generation LEAF was fitted with a 24-kilowatt-hour battery pack. These lithium-ion packs were made by combining 48 modules. About eight years ago, Nissan says its engineers found a way to take three of these modules, repackage them and fit them inside an AGV.

Last year, Nissan says they took this idea to a new level by using repurposed battery modules, instead of new ones, to power AGVs.
AGVs with the lithium-ion batteries, new or repurposed, charge faster and workers do not need to take out the batteries to plug them in.

The AGVs stop momentarily at a charging station along their route and incrementally top up at each passing.

While the AGVs currently run on a magnetic path created for them, Nissan says that developments in autonomous driving offer exciting potential as AGVs require less technology than cars as they work within a more controlled and predictable environment.

Source: Motor Trader e-Magazine (April 2021)

9 April 2021

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