Production and intralogistics for the electromobility sector

Electromobility is multifaceted and, in more and more areas of application, an environmentally compatible alternative to existing systems with combustion engines. In modern production and intralogistics, electromobility has now become a core topic.

Electric mobility

Electromobility - what's involved?

Climate change and the associated global warming constitute one of the greatest challenges facing people today. A rethink is urgently needed because global warming, caused by the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases, threatens people's health, safety and living space. In addition to industry and energy production, traffic is one of the biggest CO2 polluters. In addition to air traffic, individual road traffic in particular is responsible for high CO2 emissions. Current modes of transport that are equipped with an internal combustion engine include:

  • Aircraft

  • Ships

  • Railroads

  • Trucks

  • Passenger cars

  • Buses

  • Motorcycles

A rethink has already taken place here in many areas, because both politics and business have recognized the signs of the times. The end of the internal combustion engine is the only real alternative if global warming is not to be driven even further. But what is the alternative to remain mobile in the future?In the field of road transport, electromobility is the key to success. But how does this new technology define itself and what all is involved in the mobile world with electric drive? Electromobility is the generic term for vehicles with electric drives. The large group of these vehicles with partial or complete electric drive includes:

  • Electric cars

  • Electric buses

  • Electric trucks

  • Electric bikes

  • Electric scooters

  • Vehicles with hybrid drive

  • Other electric vehicles (e.g. sweepers, wheel loaders, conveyor vehicles in intralogistics)

In addition to the battery-powered vehicles themselves, a needs-based infrastructure of charging stations is also part of electromobility. Only when electrically powered vehicles can be recharged quickly and easily does a sensible overall concept emerge. It is also crucial that electric vehicles are quiet, efficient and low in pollutants. Only then is it possible to avoid noise and environmentally harmful exhaust gases to a greater extent.

Areas of application for electromobility?

Vehicles with full or partial electric drive can be used in both road and rail transport. Electric bicycles can also be used on designated bike paths or in forests and fields.The framework of possibilities in which vehicles with an electric drive can be used meaningfully is also broadly defined. These include:

  • Municipal administrations

  • Public transport

  • Company fleet / commercial transport companies

  • Production companies with comprehensive intralogistics

Private users of electric or hybrid vehicles

We would like to explain in more detail the individual areas in which electromobility will be increasingly used in the future.

Municipal administrations

In the area of municipal administration, many employees already use company vehicles with electric drives. In addition, there are commercial vehicles with electric drives for municipal cleaning and transport assignments. Garbage collection and the fire department also use electrically powered vehicles for their municipal tasks. E-bikes and pedelecs can support the police in traffic monitoring.

Local public transport

In many cities and communities, buses with purely electric or hybrid drive systems are already in operation. Particularly in heavily congested inner cities, switching from cars to electrically powered local public transport (LPT) makes a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions and thus improving the air.

Commercial transport companies

In the transport industry, electric drive is on the rise because increasing driving bans for diesel vehicles (up to Euro 5 trucks) in major cities are causing problems for entrepreneurs. Tax incentives from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology are having a positive effect on the use of commercial vehicles in the field of electric mobility. From a sustainable point of view, e-trucks are quiet and can therefore drive through city centers at night. In addition to reducing CO2 emissions, the electricity for e-trucks is also cheaper than fossil fuel.

Company fleet

For the company fleet, electromobility means a flagship for sustainability and environmental protection as an image enhancement for the clientele. Studies have shown that electric mobility has a positive effect on operating and maintenance costs. Another important factor is that running on electricity results in a lower price per kilometer than driving on gasoline or diesel. The tax incentives for e-vehicles are interesting: if the company car is used privately, only 0.5 percent of the gross list price for e-vehicles has to be taxed as a "non-cash benefit". For a vehicle with an internal combustion engine, the rate is 1.0 percent.

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Production companies with comprehensive intralogistics

Especially for industrial companies that already work according to the Intralogistics 4.0 standard, electromobility is clearly in focus. For example, modern transport systems such as the one from montratec handle demanding transport tasks in the tightest of spaces, even across several floors. The transport is carried out via a monorail precisely and efficiently with little abrasion and hardly any wear.

Private users of electric or hybrid vehicles

This is where the greatest opportunity lies to at least slow climate change with electromobility. With the use of vehicles such as:

  • Electric cars

  • E-bikes

  • E-scooters

climate-damaging CO2 emissions can be significantly reduced. We will go into detail about the possibilities offered by these vehicles.

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Electric cars

The switch from a motor vehicle with an internal combustion engine to a purely electric vehicle was accompanied by initial problems:

  • High acquisition costs

  • Low range

  • Long charging times

  • Few public charging stations

  • Low supply of available electric cars

  • Weight and disposal problems with the lithium-ion battery

For this reason, the proportion of hybrid vehicles, which have both an internal combustion engine and an electric drive, was initially higher on the roads. The basic idea was to cover short distances purely electrically and to use the combustion engine for long distances. Problems such as short ranges and long charging times, as well as a lack of infrastructure at public charging stations, have since been improved, so that the proportion of purely electric cars has increased significantly. But how does an electric car work in principle?

As with any car, the heart is the engine, which is powered by electricity generated from a rechargeable lithium-ion battery installed in the vehicle. The range of the electric car is defined by the storage capacity of this battery, which is the heaviest component in the electric vehicle in terms of weight. Other important components in the electric vehicle are:

  • Electric motor

  • Power electronics

  • Battery management system

  • Charging connection

In terms of spatial arrangement, the battery is located on the floor panel between the axles of the car. Depending on the model, the electric motor with the power electronics is located either on the front or rear axle. This results in an advantageous use of space with a relatively low center of gravity for the car. Following this construction, which is similar to a "skateboard," the body of the car is placed over it, to put it simply.

The advantages of the electric drive include in particular:

  • Energy efficiency

  • Low wear

  • High reliability

  • Vibration-free

  • Low driving noise during travel

The driving pleasure is particularly pronounced in vehicles with electric drive. The torque of the motor is immediately available and excites the driver with rapid acceleration. Another advantage is the lack of a manual transmission, so pure electric cars also have no gearshift and therefore fewer wearing parts.

The electric motor is efficient when braking and driving downhill. Here, the energy supply is reversed, because the energy gained during braking is fed back into the battery storage system, just like an electricity generator. Not only is energy gained with the motor brake, but the mechanical brakes are also spared.

E-bikes

The terms e-bikes and pedelecs are often mentioned in the same breath in connection with electromobility. But there is a slight difference.

Pedelec

With a pedelec, you basically have to pedal to get the support of the electric motor. Up to a speed of 25 kilometers per hour, the electric motor with a maximum rated continuous output of 250 watts supports the person while cycling.

E-bike

An e-bike, on the other hand, is a two-wheeled moped powered by an electric motor. Here, the rider can completely dispense with his or her muscle power, as the moped also rides without the rider pedaling.

The advantages of the e-bikes compared to the classic bike are the riding comfort and the extensive options. With the electrically powered bike you can:

  • Cover greater distances more quickly

  • Transport loads more easily

  • Handle differences in altitude more easily during travel

  • Move forward more easily in headwinds

For this reason, the e-bike can be particularly convincing in urban transport, not only for private use but also for public tasks. Smaller business trips can be carried out comfortably with the e-bike instead of the car within the city. The e-bike is particularly well suited for mail carriers in their daily work.

In large cities with a low supply of parking facilities, e-bikes and pedelecs are a good alternative in terms of space utilization. While cars clog up the streets and sidewalks almost everywhere in metropolitan areas, the electric-powered bicycle requires very little parking space.

With regard to sustainability and environmental impact, the e-bike is a sustainable alternative, especially in large cities, where exhaust fumes, noise and increased CO2 emissions cause significant problems.

E-scooters

Electric scooters are also clearly on the rise in cities. In terms of appearance, the e-scooter resembles a normal pedal scooter with a handlebar. However, it must not exceed a maximum speed of 20 kilometers per hour. Unlike the e-bike, there is no requirement for a driver's license for the electric scooter, as there is for the pedelec. Anyone who is at least 14 years old may ride e-scooters.

The designated lane for e-scooters is the bike lane, which the vehicle shares with bicycles and e-bikes. If this is not available, the e-scooter belongs on the road. Due to the maximum speed of up to 20 kilometers per hour, the sidewalk is off limits for the electric scooter.

To ensure that you can move quickly in the city and achieve a corresponding range, the power of the battery should be at least 250 watts, but should not usually exceed 500 watts.

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Other electric vehicles (e.g. conveyor vehicles in intralogistics)

In addition to vehicles for the road, mobile electric vehicles have also become indispensable in other areas. Thus, electric mobility also has an ever-increasing share in the areas of production and intralogistics. Modern factories that operate according to the Industry 4.0 standard can no longer produce goods and commodities competitively without electromobility. In addition to electric floor vehicles and electric forklifts, this also affects intralogistics between the individual production facilities.

A good example of an efficient and purely electrically driven intralogistics solution is the montrac® monorail and shuttle transport system from montratec. The intelligent transport system is operated with energy-efficient direct current, is space-saving and convinces with many industrial application possibilities especially also in the field of battery and display production for e-mobility. All montrac® transport shuttles only consume electricity during travel, which they tap directly via the conductor rail integrated in the monorail, without any further line loss. These special features distinguish montratec's monorail system:

  • Design and flexible adaptation of the montrac® system according to the modular principle in the smallest possible space

  • Low-impact and low-jerk transport of goods due to integrated sensor technology

  • Energy-efficient drive technology and minimal wear

  • Positioning accuracy < 1 millimeter

  • Minimal particle emission and fine dust generation

  • On-board power supply for function test of the transported goods during transport

  • 100 % anti-static / electromagnetic compatibility

  • Suitable for highly sensitive production sites thanks to certification for cleanroom classes ISO 5 and 7

With this reliable system, intralogistics and production processes can be controlled to the second. This maximizes material throughput while minimizing cycle times in your ongoing production. Even demanding transport tasks can be handled in the tightest of spaces. The system can transport goods over several floors as well as be mounted directly under the ceiling of the production hall. These are the best prerequisites for just-in-time production in your plant. In the field of electromobility, montrac is particularly suitable as an intralogistics solution for the production of batteries and displays due to its cleanroom certification.

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Conclusion

In the context of climate change and environmental protection, electromobility is becoming increasingly important. The internal combustion engine is on the brink of extinction in the medium term, and powerful vehicles have already found their place in the form of electric cars, e-bikes and e-scooters. Electromobility is already clearly visible in many areas of application. In modern production companies, too, electric-powered intralogistics solutions such as montrac shuttles are an established part of increasing efficiency.