Audi e-rickshaws in India? Yes, you read that right; Check it out
Audi is selling some of the most striking EVs in the auto market at the moment, with its e-tron range of cars being the most desirable ones. However, all those EVs that are already on the road will eventually have to dispose off their batteries once they run out of their desired capacity. What happens to these used batteries? They are not useless after all, right? To tackle this issue of used battery disposal, Audi in collaboration with German-Indian startup Nunam is experimenting with a second-life use for electric car batteries.
The result is a project that is evaluating the possibility is using used-car batteries power simple and small range vehicles. Nunam is using the used battery packs from a test fleet of Audi e-tron vehicles in three prototype e-rickshaws. These rickshaws will be tested in Indian conditions next year, and will be evaluated to see whether the used Audi EV batteries can reused in these lower powered vehicles.
Audi EV batteries to power e-rickshaws
“Car batteries are designed to last the life of the car. But even after their initial use in a vehicle, they still have a lot of their power,” says Nunam co-founder Prodip Chatterjee. “For vehicles with lower range and power requirements, as well as lower overall weight, they are extremely promising. In this way, we're trying to find out how much power the batteries can still provide in this demanding use case.”
But that's not where Nunam is putting the brakes on these e-tron batteries. Once the e-rickshaws use the batteries completely in their second life cycle, Nunam will explore a third-life use case for them to power smaller devices such as LED lights. "We want to get everything possible out of each battery before recycling," says Chatterjee.
The concept is not a new one – Nissan has been using the used batteries from its Leaf EV to power the automated guided vehicles in the factories to deliver parts to the production line.
As long as it concerns the e-rickshaws, Nunam says that it will also develop sustainable charging system for its electric rickshaws by using a solar charging solution placed on rooftops of local partners. The e-tron batteries can be charged and used during the day, and also act as a buffer storage unit for power.