Audi can save millions with used electric batteries!

Audi can save millions with used electric batteries!-millions

In a current pilot project at the main plant in Ingolstadt, Audi is testing what benefits can still be derived from used lithium-ion batteries. Recycling would be an option, but since they still have much of their original loading capacity, it certainly wouldn’t be the best choice. Audi therefore uses the batteries, which come from Audi e-tron test vehicles or from hybrid models such as the Audi A3 e-tron and Audi Q7 e-tron, in electrically powered industrial trucks.

Forklifts and tractors fall under the classification of industrial trucks (FFZ) and have previously drawn their energy from lead-acid batteries. If these are empty, employees remove the battery packs, which can weigh up to two tons, and connect them to a charging station for several hours. With the use of used lithium-ion batteries, this problem can be a thing of the past in the future.

During regular downtimes, for example during breaks in shifts, the batteries can be charged directly at their locations. According to Audi, the savings from the high level of manual effort alone would amount to millions if the entire industrial truck fleet worldwide were to be converted.

“In every lithium-ion battery there is a high energy input and valuable resources that must be used in the best possible way. For us, a sustainable electromobility strategy also includes a sensible second-use concept for the energy sources.“ – Peter Kossler, Member of the Board of Management for Production and Logistics at AUDI AG

The “old” batteries can be used in industrial trucks, since the remaining charging capacity of the lithium-ion battery is more than sufficient for the requirements of the transport vehicles. In addition to the advantage of charging the vehicles on site, the e-accumulators have another advantage. Industrial trucks with lithium-ion batteries can keep their speed constant even on sloping ramps – trucks powered by lead-acid batteries cannot do that. In addition, regular charging during breaks prevents downtime during working hours.

Audi can save millions with used electric batteries!-millions

However, it must be noted that the batteries cannot simply be removed from the Audi e-tron and installed in an industrial truck. It should be noted here that the battery from the e-tron consists of 36 individual battery modules, which are located in the form of a flat, wide block under the passenger cell between the axles. Before installation in the appropriate forklift truck or tractor, each individual module is now checked for further usability after the battery has been taken back.

The Audi project team then installs 24 modules in a new battery tray. This has the same dimensions and the same weight as the previous lead-acid batteries in industrial trucks – so the company can continue to use all FFZ without major investments. In the future, specialized employees could take over the construction of the second-use batteries in the in-house battery technology center.

Audi has been working on this secondary use of used battery modules for two years. After the first tests were successful, they are now testing the first converted FFZ in everyday production. The pioneering project is one of many in which Audi is committed to the sensible and efficient continued use of electric car batteries. The use of used modules in mobile charging containers for electric vehicles or in stationary energy storage is also conceivable.

It is also known that Audi and Umicore are developing a battery recycling cycle. The aim of the two partners is to develop a closed circuit for components of high-voltage batteries, which can then be used again and again. Particularly valuable materials should be available from a resource bank.

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