As we move away from traditional fossil fuel-burning automobiles towards hybrids and EVs, we're presented with new challenges -- namely servicing those vehicles and their high-voltage batteries. When it comes time for transport, in the event of an accident or when components need to be serviced individually, it's necessary to completely drain the cells on board, and that's where Midtronics' GRX-5100 comes in. The vehicle battery service and de-power tool is wrapping up field testing at GM and may soon find itself in "reclamation yards" (read: junk yards) as well as your local mechanic. With testing out of the way Midtronics plans to ramp up production before the end of the year, and its updateable firmware means it will be able to handle future vehicles with nothing more than an upgrade loaded on a USB key. For more info check out the PR after the break.
Midtronics Develops New GRX-5100 Hybrid/EV Battery Service Tool
WILLOWBROOK, Ill., May 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Midtronics, Inc. today announced the completion of initial field testing for the GRX-5100 Hybrid/EV Battery Station, the first high-voltage Hybrid/EV vehicle battery service and de-power tool for various hybrid and electric vehicles. The GRX-5100 safely de-powers high-voltage batteries and also enables service for the battery system at the module level, reducing manufacturer warranty costs and repair time and expense for customers.
Currently completing field testing at General Motors, the GRX-5100 was developed to perform full battery pack service, including balancing, charging in no-start situations, and full de-powering. The de-power capability enables packs in vehicles that have been involved in severe collisions to be de-powered to a safe level for storage, recycling or shipment. Beyond service providers, the GRX-5100 is also targeted for reclamation yards where it can be used to perform critical safety checks and de-powering with the battery pack either in or out of the vehicle.
"We have been working in tandem with various vehicle manufacturers to develop this new solution to improve the serviceability of electric and hybrid vehicle battery systems, whether that be routine repair or complete de-power after a severe collision," said Midtronics Chief Technology Officer Kevin Bertness. "Field testing in cooperation with General Motors has been very successful and we plan to begin full-scale production and shipping of the GRX-5100 before the end of 2012."
The GRX-5100 features a versatile electrical harness between vehicle batteries and communication systems via unique adapters for each vehicle model. Simple menu prompts guide verification that the battery and communication systems are properly connected and balancing or de-powering operations can safely begin. The station also utilizes USB-based memory, which will support system updates for future vehicle battery systems without a hardware upgrade.
"The ability of the GRX-5100 to be updated to communicate with future vehicle battery systems ensures that our dealers and other OEMS will be able to perform service, de-power and balance functions as new makes/models are introduced," said Pablo Valencia, GM senior manager of global battery lifecycle management.
The GRX-5100 is the latest in Midtronics innovative products for the hybrid/electric vehicle market. Previous product releases have included the HYB-1000 Hybrid Battery System Analyzer, designed for the aftermarket; and the GRX-5000 EV Battery Module Diagnostic Station; which performs both battery module balancing and diagnostics and was initially created in support of the Nissan LEAF program.
Midtronics is a worldwide leader and provider of vehicle battery testing and management products and services. Founded in 1984, Midtronics remains singularly focused on battery management innovation. The company continues advancing the standard in its industry, supplying customers with custom battery management solutions that meet evolving needs, including those related to hybrid, electric and other new vehicle systems. Visit www.midtronics.com for more information.