Opel customers have had the choice of driving electrically or combustion engine powered cars for ten years. The first was the Opel Ampera in 2011, followed by the Ampera-e and the current models, from Corsa-e to Zafira-e Life. Alongside the e-vehicles, Opel has established a service for the maintenance of high voltage batteries. The facility set up ten years ago for the Ampera has been brought right up to date. The center now checks and, if necessary, repairs the batteries of all company vehicles on the eCMP platform (currently Opel Corsa-e, Mokka-e) and the Combo-e, Vivaro-e and Zafira-e Life. By the end of this year, Opel will be on the road with nine electric models and will offer an electrified version in each series by 2024.
“Over the years we have gained a lot of experience with lithium-ion batteries”, says Opel’s Managing Director Engineering, Marcus Lott. “A failure is very rare, but if it happens, investigating the cause and making repairs are jobs for specialists. We now put our competence at the disposal of the whole company and provide fast support.”
Opel Automobile GmbH, Rüsselsheim, Germany, has significantly expanded and modernised the “Battery Refurbishment Center” in Rüsselsheim. All the employees are professionals in electricity and trained to high-voltage level 5 standard. The technicians take care of the cases that dealers from all over Europe cannot handle. Last year, that amounted to around 100 defects among up to ten-year-old cars in which a control unit, or in the worst case, a battery cell failed to function. The battery then comes to Rüsselsheim, where the sealed pack is opened by the high-voltage experts. The malfunctioning cell is exchanged and the whole battery returned to the customer. In the event of more serious damage – such as after a collision – sufficient reconditioned batteries are always available in Rüsselsheim. In return the customer receives an exchange battery as replacement.
Only the Rüsselsheim battery centre is allowed to open the faulty battery. The sealed unit must be cut open by the high voltage experts. The damaged cell is replaced and the fully functional battery is then sent as a replacement battery to the warehouse.