The timetable for the electrification of the Mercedes-Benz range is accelerating at full speed. This large-scale development of the electric vehicle naturally raises the question of recycling lithium-ion batteries, after their normal life cycle on board automobiles. But before this stage, used batteries offer perfectly adequate performance for new functions as part of a circular economy that promotes their reuse. This is enough to guarantee them a second life, to reduce their impact on the environment as much as possible. That's why Mercedes-Benz France turned to a French start-up based in Lyon, Mob-Energy, to set up a particularly ingenious charging solution, using these batteries. His Charles robot is the first of its kind in Europe. As part of the partnership signed in 2022 with Mercedes-Benz France, Charles uses second-life batteries from Mercedes vehicles (180 modules supplied) to store and distribute its electrical energy. A first experiment was set up at the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz France, which is already certified by the ISO 14001 environmental standard. Since last autumn, a group of fifteen employees driving plug-in hybrid or 100% electric company vehicles has been testing this automated charging system. But how does this robot manage to accomplish its mission? It takes advantage of the parking time of electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles to recharge them, while greatly reducing infrastructure work and preserving parking service.
Fully automated operation
The Charles robot is capable of charging 20 cars a day, delivering their daily dose of energy, at a power of 7.4 kW alternating current or 30 kW direct current, before having to recharge itself. The robot is able to prioritize charging on the park, according to users' needs in terms of energy quantity and parking time. It can thus interrupt a recharge to go to a more urgent vehicle to refuel. The cars are equipped with a connection module that the driver will be able to retrieve from a vending machine placed in the car park, allowing the automated connection between the Charles robot and the vehicle. At the end of the day, the latter is ready for the road without having monopolized a fixed terminal unnecessarily. Practical and efficient, this is how Charles intends to be part of the lives of motorists.