Audi e-tron used batteries to power electric three-wheelers in India
German auto giant Audi will be sharing used EV batteries from its e-tron to power commercial electric three-wheelers in India. Nunam, an India based non-profit startup, has tied up with the German carmaker to acquire used EV batteries to power e-rickshaws. The startup will launch three electric rickshaws in India using these batteries. The aim is to showcase how to use high-voltage batteries for second-life use.
The startup developed three such electric rickshaws equipped with used batteries from Audi e-tron EVs. Audi has showcased how these e-rickshaws will look like and perform. The electric rickshaws are powered by used batteries taken from Audi e-tron test vehicles. The e-rickshaws are expected to hit Indian roads for the first time as part of a pilot project early next year.
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Prodip Chatterjee, Cofounder of Nunam, said, “The old batteries are still extremely powerful. When used appropriately, second-life batteries can have a huge impact, helping people in challenging life situations earn an income and gain economic independence – everything in a sustainable way." Nunam is based in Berlin and Bangalore and is funded by the Audi Environmental Foundation.
Currently, electric three-wheelers or e-rickshaws plying on Indian roads are powered by lead-acid batteries, which have a relatively short service life. However, the second-life high-energy-density battery will be more than enough to run these comparatively low vehicle weight as they do not travel too fast or too far.
If successful, the pilot project could open up new avenues of recycling old electric car batteries to power new one. Chatterjee said, “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. For vehicles with lower range and power requirements, as well as lower overall weight, they are extremely promising. In our second-life project, we reuse batteries from electric cars in electric vehicles; you might call it electric mobility ‘lite’. In this way, we’re trying to find out how much power the batteries can still provide in this demanding use case."
Besides aiming to find a breakthrough in second-life usage of EV batteries, Nunam also aims to offer job opportunities for women in India through this project. The startup plans to provide the women workforce with the e-rickshaws to transport their goods.