Japanese Automakers Exploring Replaceable Commercial BEV Batteries

A Japanese automaker consortium is exploring the possibilities of creating replaceable and rechargeable cartridge batteries for future commercial BEVs

The move could diffuse much of the resistance among fleet managers concerned that most current BEVs have lengthy recharge times. It could also lessen the concerns over residual values where the vehicles are effectively scrap after their built-in battery packs become too old and degraded to function in a transport role. The project has been announced by the Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies Corporation (CJPT) and Yamamoto Transport. CJPT was launched by Toyota with Isuzu Motors and Hino Motors in March 2021 and has since been joined by Suzuki and Daihatsu.

The automaker says current BEVs’ recharging times causes an increase in fleet logistics downtime when vehicles and cargo are at a standstill. The introduction of commercial BEVs is also expected to create a potential increase in peak electricity demand at business sites when numerous vehicles are being recharged at the same time.

To solve these issues, CJPT and Yamamoto Transport will begin studying the practical application of detachable and portable cartridge batteries, based on a series of potential benefits. Chief aims of the project include:

  • Reducing the cost of introducing BEVs: costs can be reduced by limiting battery capacity to match actual driving range requirements. This could also reduce the total amount of batteries required;
  • Reducing the requirement for recharging infrastructure;
  • Reducing logistics downtime;
  • Levelling off electricity demand: replacement batteries can be recharged while vehicles are in operation, reducing peak power demand.

CJPT believes that the development of common-specification cartridge batteries and recharging systems for a range of commercial vehicles, from minivans to light-duty trucks, will reduce their cost and encourage their widespread use. The company is also looking at ways of matching battery use to actual operational requirements to produce an efficient energy management solution.

Yamamoto Transport aims to build a green delivery ecosystem that includes its transport and delivery partners, working with communities to co-create an electricity utilization scheme based on the use of cartridge batteries. In addition to promoting the use of green power by eliminating the gap between renewable energy generation peaks and the timing of commercial BEV recharging, the company also intends to study ways of increasing the resilience of electric energy supply communities. This could include, for example, the delivery of cartridge batteries to disaster zones where access to the power infrastructure is compromised.

The two companies are open to considering collaboration with new partners on the standardization and commercialization of cartridge batteries, helping popularise electrified vehicles and thus contributing towards the achievement of a carbon-neutral society.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *