Audi is testing factory vehicles powered by used lithium-ion batteries at its main plant in Ingolstadt. All OEM’s are required by law to take back energy carriers after they have been used in cars. These batteries still have a large amount of their original charging capacity when they return to the factory. An interdisciplinary project team is now investigating how batteries from Audi e-tron test vehicles and hybrid models such as the Audi A3 e-tron and Q7 e-tron, can continue to be used. A number of advantages have been found during the test phase.
As opposed to traditional lead-acid batteries which need to be removed from factory vehicles like fork-lift trucks and tow tractors to charge for several hours, lithium-ion batteries can be charged directly where the vehicles are parked during normal downtimes. This saves space and eliminates the high manual effort required to replace the batteries. Audi would save millions if it converted its entire fleet of factory vehicles to lithium ion batteries at its 16 production sites worldwide.
“Every lithium-ion battery represents high energy consumption and valuable resources that must be used in the best possible way,” says Peter Kössler, Member of the Board of Management for Production and Logistics at AUDI AG. “For us, a sustainable electric-mobility strategy also includes a sensible second-use concept for energy carriers.” The remaining charging capacity of a lithium-ion battery after use in a car is more than sufficient for the requirements of the transport vehicles. Their driving characteristics actually improve considerably as a result of this use: They can keep their speed constant even on ramps – factory vehicles powered by lead-acid batteries cannot do that.
The project team has been working on this second use of used battery modules for about two years. After the first tests were successful, they began testing the first converted factory vehicles in everyday production.