Verladung eines fertigen Batterieclusters Verladung eines fertigen Batterieclusters

Anniversary: Competence Center for Emission-free Mobility (KEM) in Mannheim turns 30 years old

A pioneer for the mobility of the future is celebrating its birthday: the Competence Center for Zero Emission Mobility (KEM) has been the start-up factory for components and vehicles with alternative drive systems at Daimler Truck for 30 years. As an internal development partner, the KEM builds prototypes, produces small series and prepares series start-ups. It thus closes the gap between the development of e-components and e-vehicles and large-scale production.

The focus here is on the integration and transfer of electric and hydrogen-based alternative drives into series production. The design of production lines with the latest zero-emission technologies is one of KEM’s core competencies. More than 50 engineers, master craftsmen and mechatronics technicians at KEM use their extensive know-how to define new production processes for components for low-emission and zero-emission vehicles, such as battery packs, battery systems or fuel cell units and hydrogen tank systems.

E-bus battery forge

The competence center for emission-free mobility was already involved in the ramp-up of series production of the all-electric Mercedes-Benz eCitaro city bus, which has been manufactured in Mannheim since the end of 2018. Since then, battery packs have been assembled and tested at the KEM to form high-voltage battery clusters. This is also planned for the next generation of e-bus batteries, which will be used from the middle of the decade. The battery systems will then be installed on the roof and in the engine compartment of the city buses. All Mercedes-Benz eCitaro fuel cell vehicles – battery-electric low-floor buses with hydrogen fuel cells to extend their range – will come to the KEM once they have been completed: for initial refueling at the KEM’s own hydrogen refueling station.

Battery packs for eActros 300/400 and eEconic from the Mercedes-Benz plant in Mannheim: For the e-trucks currently being produced at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth, a good 50 kilometers away, individual battery modules are assembled into complete high-voltage batteries (packs) at the KEM and subjected to a functional test. However, before the modules are turned into a ready-to-use high-voltage battery, the individual modules are first placed in a battery housing and then connected to other components such as busbars, control units and cables. This is followed by the wiring of the high-voltage wiring harnesses and the application of insulation layers to ensure the highest safety standards. Finally, the so-called electrical/electronic box (E/E box) is attached to the pre-assembled metal housing, which later forms the interface between the battery and the vehicle. The E/E box is also pre-assembled in the KEM. After a final functional and leak test of the entire high-voltage battery, it is shipped to Wörth.

Pilot project: High-voltage batteries and modules as power storage units for charging electric trucks

As zero-emission mobility is not just about the initial production of goods, but takes the entire economic cycle into account, KEM is also piloting applications for the second life of high-voltage batteries and modules as electricity storage systems: KEM has an energy storage system (ESS) as part of a depot charging system pilot application for customers. The storage system, consisting of modules from eActros 300/400 and eEconic batteries, charges trucks from logistics service providers at the Mannheim plant with green electricity from the 3.2 MW photovoltaic system, which covers around 30,000 square meters of the KEM roof.

The competence center was founded in 1994 for zero-emission commercial vehicles (KEN) and was initially purely an experimental workshop for new drive systems. One of the first projects was the production of vans with electric drives in 1996. With a view to the increasing relevance of alternative drive systems in recent years, Robert Braun, Head of the Competence Center for Zero-Emission Mobility, emphasizes: “Over the past 30 years, we have gained a great deal of experience with various technologies and are excellently positioned for the future with the knowledge we have gained from this. We can proudly say that every vehicle with an alternative drive system from Daimler Truck also contains a piece of KEM expertise.”

10.06.2024   |  

Related Posts