Audi e-Tron batteries used to power rickshaws in India

Used battery modules from Audi e-Tron test vehicles are being given a second life in India to electrify rickshaws, replacing polluting petrol engines.

Three trial e-rickshaws will arrive on India’s roads in early 2023 as part of a joint-venture between a Bangalore/Berlin-based non-profit organisation called Nunam. It will reuse old batteries as power storage systems once their first vehicle cycle is over, which will extend battery lives while preserving resources more efficiently. The long-term vision will be to focus on empowering women, enabling them to transport goods to markets.

E-rickshaws already exist in India, but they mainly run on unreliable lead-acid batteries which need servicing often and have a limited life.

Rather than rely of energy from coal-fired power stations, Nunam is proposing to charge their e-rickshaws at solar charging stations. The idea is to attach solar panels on roofs which can charge storage batteries, which are also made of reused e-Tron power packs. These will allow charging at all times of day and make local driving entirely zero-emission.

Nunam also say a third purpose for these batteries could be to power stationary equipment, such as LED lighting, to save costs and help clean up India’s power supply.

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