Automated heavy-load vehicles in battery operation – a vision of the future or an existing reality? Ten Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) are already operated at the Altenwerder Container Terminal (CTA) of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA). The Battery Electric Heavy-Load Vehicles in Intelligent Container Terminal Operation (BESIC) research project has been attempting to identify the optimal point in time for battery charging from an operational and ecological perspective since the beginning of 2013. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
The approx. twelve tonne batteries are exchanged in a changing station in a fully automated process. As the AGVs are mobile for around 17 hours on a single battery charge, yet the charging process takes just 7 hours, the time of charging can be selected relatively freely without hindering operation.
This is where efforts are initially concentrated in the BESIC project, which HHLA is working on together with AGV manufacturer Gottwald/Terex, Vattenfall and three universities. The project involves the development of a battery management system that determines suitable charging periods by exchanging data with load forecast systems of Vattenfall and the terminal control system of CTA. This means that wind and solar energy can be utilised where abundantly available.
In addition to practical feasibility, the project also focuses on efficiency. This may also appeal to companies that use battery-powered vehicles to transport heavy loads in a clear circuit. In recognition of the innovative contribution to energy transition expected of the BESIC project, the German government awarded the project flagship status for electromobility back in May 2013.