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June 17, 2022

This E-Trike Is Powered By Audi

As carmakers shift to electric mobility, the issue of what to do with all those EV batteries is becoming a serious point of discussion. Audi together with a German-Indian start-up is finding a second life for the e-tron’s batteries by encouraging Indians to use it for zero emissions rickshaws.

Nunam, a non-profit start-up based in Berlin and Bangalore has successfully completed three electric rickshaws powered by the e-tron’s high-voltage batteries. These will under go testing, and once it goes into production, will help create job opportunities for Indian women.

Although EV tractive batteries are designed to last the lifetime of the car, some will actually outlive the vehicle it saw service in. Thus, Nunam saw an opportunity, particularly for vehicles with a lower range and power requirement.

Audi and Nunam focused on design, charging time, and range for the rickshaws. These zero emissions rickshaws feature underfloor-mounted batteries which are splash-proof. Furthermore, they use as many recyclable materials as possible.

With a high-energy-density battery and comparatively low vehicle weight, e-rickshaws seem like a perfect avenue. And while electrically powered rickshaws are not an uncommon sight in India, they often run on lead-acid batteries, which have a relatively short service life and are often not disposed of properly.

Nunam also realized that India’s power grid uses a lot of coal-fired plants for generation. To complete the clean energy cycle, their e-rickshaws will be charged using power from solar charging stations. During the day, sunlight charges a battery sourced from, you guessed it, an e-tron battery which acts a buffer storage unit. And in the evening, the power is passed on to the rickshaws. This approach makes local driving largely carbon-free.

Even after the end of the serviceable life of these e-rickshaws, Nunam plans to use e-tron batteries for a third time as LED lighting for roads.

1 comment:

  1. What to do with all those batteries? Isn't this program just a clever way of dumping serious "first world" battery waste on third world countries under the guise of providing them alternative means of "green" transportation?


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