Employees at BMW Group plants and logistics centres sometimes cover up to 12 kilometres per day on foot and having to carry small parts and work materials often makes it even harder. Experts from the BMW Group Research and Technology House in Garching took up the challenge of easing this situation, together with the staff who run the BMW Group’s central aftersales logistics network at the Dingolfing location.
Employees at various sites were surveyed on a random basis and their needs recorded. Environment analyses were conducted in parallel and the legal framework, such as site safety guidelines, taken into account. The findings provided a relatively demanding profile of requirements for the mobility solution.
Richard Kamissek, head of the Operations Central Aftersales Logistics Network department, sums up: “It had to be flexible, easy to manoeuvre, zippy, electric, extremely agile and tilt-proof and, at the same time, suitable for carrying objects. The Personal Mover Concept can do all of this and is also fun to drive. We hope to start using it as soon as possible!”
The body platform of the Personal Mover Concept is 60 centimetres wide and 80 centimetres long, so that a person can stand comfortably on it and still have room for larger, heavy objects. Two wheels at the rear corners of the platform and two support wheels at the front ensure that it does not tip over, even in tight bends. The two front support wheels rotate 360°, which greatly increases manoeuvrability.
The handlebar and drive wheel are sunk into the middle of the body platform at the front. The handlebar contains the entire electrical system, the battery and the drive wheel, and can be rotated 90° to the left and right, allowing the Personal Mover Concept to turn on the spot.
A thumb throttle for regulating speed is integrated into the right grip. This control is used to start the Personal Mover Concept, switch the light on and off, select the driving mode or check battery status. For safety, there is also a bell for warning other employees. The left grip operates the brake and a dead man’s control.
If not accelerating, the Personal Mover Concept recuperates by feeding released braking energy back into the battery. The electric drive accelerates up to a maximum of 25 km/h. The installed cells guarantee a range of about 20-30 kilometres. The Personal Mover Concept is charged from a regular household socket using a power adapter.
Occupational safety guidelines require a permanent daytime running light, so an LED front light is mounted on the handlebar, with two red LED lights integrated into the bumpers at the rear of the platform for this purpose.
The Personal Mover Concept can also be used outside of BMW Group locations. Initial discussions with operators of airports, exhibition centres and major shopping centres have shown that it could also be an attractive solution for applications of that kind.