Dachser has arranged a shuttle service between Volvo Cars and Dachser collecting goods from the customer six times a day.
“The concept that we have created for Volvo Cars is unique,” says Carl-Johan Westas, Branch Manager at Dachser Sweden in Gothenburg. “I look forward to seeing what a difference we can make with this cooperation,” he continues.
As a part of the setup with Volvo Cars, Dachser also offers a dynamic loading service. This means that Volvo Cars loads an entire trailer at a time with goods to Germany at their own distribution terminal in Gothenburg on an ongoing basis as the orders are completed and packed. Then the goods – spare parts – are transported to Dachser's branch in Gothenburg, and then sorted and transported to Volvo Cars’ warehouses in Germany.
“We provide Volvo Cars with a solution that is tailored to their logistics needs,” said René Sidor, Managing Director of Dachser Nordic A/S. “With concepts such as dynamic loading, Volvo gets a unified logistics solution.”
First four container trains with the kits departed in accordance with a specially developed schedule for this project through a direct route Chengdu (China) – Zhodino (Belarus). 50 container trains in total are expected to depart by the end of 2019, with regularity one train a week.
Containers with knock-down kits were transported from the railway container terminal in Chengdu and will go by rail through Mongolia (Zamyn-Uud border crossing), through Russia (Naushki border crossing) and Belarus (Krasnoye border crossing) and will arrive at the access routes of BelGee at Zhodino station. The delivery time is around 14 days.
Currently RZD Logistics is looking into the opportunity to organise similar shipments to Belarus from other Geely factories in China.
“We see the interest of automobile manufacturers and dealers to railway delivery and put emphasis on the development of this area of logistics business. Transportation of knock-down kits in accelerated container train from China to Belarus is three times faster than sea delivery, which allows us to count on switching the volumes from the functioning sea route to rail. This year we not only plan to follow the delivery schedule, but will also work actively on the geographic expansion of Geely products’ shipments from China,” said, Viacheslav Valentik, CEO of RZD Logistics.
Because they still have a large proportion of their original charging capacity, an interdisciplinary project team is now investigating how batteries from Audi e-tron test vehicles, for example, or from hybrid models such as the Audi A3 e-tron and Audi Q7 e-tron, can continue to be used sensibly. A number of other advantages have already become apparent during the test phase.
Factory vehicles in Audi’s production plants such as fork-lift trucks and tow tractors have so far been powered by lead-acid batteries. When the batteries are empty, employees remove the battery packs weighing up to two tons from the vehicles and connect them to a charging station for several hours.
However, lithium-ion batteries can be charged directly where the vehicles are parked during normal downtimes, in breaks between shifts for example. This saves space and also eliminates the high manual effort required to replace the batteries. Audi would save millions if it converted its entire fleet of factory vehicles to lithium-ion batteries at its 16 production sites worldwide.
“Every lithium-ion battery represents high energy consumption and valuable resources that must be used in the best possible way,” said Peter Kössler, Member of the Board of Management for Production and Logistics at Audi AG. “For us, a sustainable electric-mobility strategy also includes a sensible second-use concept for energy carriers.”
The remaining charging capacity of a lithium-ion battery after use in a car is more than sufficient for the requirements of the transport vehicles. Their driving characteristics actually improve considerably as a result of this use. They can keep their speed constant even on ramps – factory vehicles powered by lead-acid batteries cannot do that. In addition, regular charging during breaks prevents downtimes during working hours.
The battery of an Audi e-tron for example consists of 36 individual battery modules and is located under the car’s passenger cell between the axles in the form of a flat, wide block. After batteries are taken back, the project team checks each individual module for its continued usability. They then install 24 modules in each new battery tray.
This has the same dimensions and weight as the previous lead-acid batteries of the factory vehicles, so the company can continue to use all of those vehicles without any major investments. In the future, specialised employees could take over the assembly of the second-use batteries in the company’s own battery center.
The project team from the areas of production, logistics and development has been working on this second use of used battery modules for about two years. After the first tests were successful, they are now testing the first converted factory vehicles in everyday production.
This pioneering project is one of many that demonstrate Audi’s commitment to the sensible and efficient further use of batteries from electric cars. It is also conceivable that used battery modules could be used in mobile charging containers for electric vehicles or in stationary energy-storage systems.
Audi is also developing recycling concepts: At the end of the battery lifecycle, valuable elements from them are to flow into new products and will thus continue to be used.