Audi to Make e-Rickshaws Using Retired EV Batteries in India
Nunam will utilize Audi’s old EV batteries to transform rickshaws into electric vehicles as part of their collaboration, which also aims to offer eco-friendly charging stations for new e-rickshaws
German automotive giant Audi has recently partnered with German-Indian startup Nunam to give the Indian rickshaw an electric makeover using retired EV batteries. This new partnership will launch a new pilot project in Indian markets in the first quarter of 2023. As part of the project, the used Audi e-Tron batteries will get a second life to power new e-rickshaws. These e-rickshaws will provide a sustainable way to reduce carbon emissions.
This project aims to explore the potential of modules made using high-voltage batteries. Meanwhile, the project will also help improve job opportunities for Indian women. It is because women in India will be given these e-rickshaws for transporting goods.
The Audi Environmental Foundation funds the non-profit startup headquartered in Berlin and Bangalore. And, it is the first joint project between Audi Environmental Foundation and Audi AG along with Nunam.
Prodip Chatterjee, Nunam’s co-founder, mentions that the recycled batteries appear promising for autos with a lower range, power requirements, and overall weight. However, the experts have to figure out how much power these batteries offer for new e-rickshaws.
With a low vehicle weight and high-energy-density battery, the electric motor doesn’t need to be very powerful as rickshaws in India don’t travel very long distances. Generally, the rickshaws run on lead-acid batteries that don’t dispose of properly and also have a short service life.
Even rickshaw drivers have to charge their motors majorly via public grid electricity that boasts a high proportion of coal-fired power. However, Nunam aims to solve this issue by charging e-rickshaws via solar charging stations with roofs including solar panels.
During the daytime, sunlight can charge the e-Tron battery that further acts as a buffer storage unit. And, in the evening, the stored power is perfect to charge rickshaws. Hence, charging and running rickshaws would become carbon-free.
Nunam further checks the performance and range of e-rickshaws. They also make the collected e-rickshaw data available on the open-source platform to potential imitators. The team shared that after reusing the batteries in an e-rickshaw, it won’t reach the end of the road just yet. These can also be reused for other stationary applications, like LED lighting.
With such initiatives, electric mobility and solar energy can reduce our country’s dependence on fossil fuels, such as coal. This way, there will be a huge reduction in exhaust emissions in the environment. Moreover, people will get a more reliable way of power supply.
Likewise, more companies need to work on reusing e-waste throughout the globe. For this noble cause, Nunam would like to share their knowledge to encourage even more initiatives for developing products to drive such an eco-social revolution forward.
Nonetheless, there are still no details on when the production of the e-rickshaws will begin. We have to wait for the official statement from Audi or Nunam about more updates.