On every major project, there comes a time when the earthmoving and lifting equipment steps aside and the powered hand tools come to the fore.
From the operators that come in after the structure of a building is up to thread the utilities and MEP through the concrete to the finishers who come in to install the windows, walls, floors and ceilings, a project might see thousands of hand tools at work.
Hilti is a premium supplier of hand tools ranging from nail guns to hydraulic hammers. It also offers a wide range of cordless tools, which still represent a minority segment in the region, but one which Hilti is keen to promote.
In April 2016, Hilti introduced a new battery range for its hand tools that nearly doubled their capacity from a 1.6Ah (Ampere-hours) to 3.3Ah range, to a 2.6Ah to 5.2Ah range.
This development in turn inspired Konstantin Fedin, the area sales manager for interior finishing at Hilti Emirates, to think outside of the box and embark on a rather colourful project to demonstrate the versatility and capacity of Hilti’s hand tool batteries by fitting out a car to run on the power cells.
Fedin notes: “For the last year and a half I was responsible for cordless tools, and with the introduction of the new batteries, I thought: ‘What can I do differently to show them the superiority of the batteries?’ My aim was to inspire the marketing team, so that they could sell to the customers, and believe it.
“The idea is that Hilti has a wide range of tools operated on those same batteries. It’s the versatility of being able to take the battery from one tool, and simply put it on another tool and have it work — so I just decided to top up the range of the construction tools with one more item that can use those batteries.”
PEDAL TO THE METAL
With Hilti’s backing, Fedin spent the last nine months first exploring the possibilities and subsequently working weekends alongside his formal duties to develop a system that could adapt Hilti hand tool batteries to power a car.
It took some experimentation, but the result is a Peugeot 2016 with two electric motors — one mounted directly on each rear wheel — and powered by eight batteries, four apiece.
Fedin details: “The electric motors are mounted on the rear wheels, and from the batteries there is a programmable controller which takes the energy in a smart way from the batteries and delivers them to the motors.”
Early on, the big challenge for the project was the weight of the vehicle, as Fedin notes: “I mounted one motor first, but it was a bit overloaded, so I mounted the second one.”
Fedin was able to remove the entire Peugeot 2016 powertrain, including the engine, gearbox and conventional rear axles. He also removed the rear seats to further reduce the weight.
Upon its completion, he recalls: “When I was introducing this car inside of my company, I parked the car in front of them, they all crowded around, I opened the front hood, and there was a big hole there — there was no front engine, and then I opened the back side, and there were the batteries.”
In the end, Fedin used two sets of four 22V batteries — one for each of the motors — and two controllers that could operate in the range from 40V to 120V, placing the 88V combined capacity squarely in the optimum range.
The batteries themselves are installed on the multi-bay charger designed by Hilti to recharge the power cells, but with the system reversed by Fedin to deliver energy instead.