According to foreign media reports, Audi is testing factory vehicles powered by used lithium-ion batteries at its main plant in Ingolstadt, Germany. Like other car manufacturers, Audi also needs to recycle batteries for electric cars in accordance with the law. Because such batteries still have good raw charging capabilities, an interdisciplinary team at Audi is investigating how to continue to make rational use of the Audi e-tron test car, or the batteries of hybrids such as the AudiA3e-tron and the AudiQ7e-tron. In the testing phase, there have been significant benefits of recycling batteries.
To date, factory vehicles such as forklifts and tractors at the Audi plant have been powered by lead-acid batteries. When the battery runs out of power, the employees will remove the 2 ton battery from the car and connect the battery to the charging station for a few hours. However, the lithium-ion battery allows the vehicle to be charged during the factory shift period, such as normal downtime, and directly in the parking place, which not only saves space, but also eliminates the labor and manual labor required to replace the battery. If Audi replaces the battery of its fleet of cars in 16 production sites around the world with lithium-ion batteries, it will save millions of dollars.
The Audi e-tron's battery consists of 36 individual battery modules that are mounted under the passenger compartment between the axles and are flat and wide. After the battery is recycled, the project team will check if each module is still usable and then install 24 battery modules in each new battery holder. The module is the same size and weight as the lead-acid battery originally used in the factory vehicle, so the company does not need to retrofit the vehicle. In the future, professional staff can be responsible for the assembly of secondary batteries at Audi's battery center.
The project team members come from the production, logistics and R&D departments and have been working in the secondary use of used battery modules for two years. After the first test was successful, the project team was testing the first modified factory vehicles in daily production. This groundbreaking project is one of Audi's many projects dedicated to the further rational and efficient use of electric vehicle batteries. In addition, the used battery modules can also be used in mobile charging containers for electric vehicles or in fixed energy storage systems. And Audi is still developing a recycling concept: at the end of the battery life cycle, valuable parts of the battery will flow into new products and continue to be used.