Remanufacturing enables second life for e-car batteries

betteries AMP, Berlin

Based in an old Renault factory near Paris (Flins-sur-Seine) the company “betteries” reconditions used batteries from e-vehicles. The Berlin-headquartered start-up perceives itself as a centre of excellence for the reuse of batteries whose capacity is no longer sufficient for automotive use. As Holger Cartsburg, operations manager at betteries, stated: "The long-term goal is a complete circular economy for the electrical systems of e-vehicles." Han-Modular® connectors are providing the necessary interfaces for the "Second Life" battery modules.

What to do with the spent batteries from electrically powered vehicles? The storage units usually still have a residual capacity of 70 percent when they are replaced. They are already removed at this stage of degradation so that the range of the vehicle does not decrease further.Considering the current dynamics of e-drives in the market, it is therefore only a question of time before the mobility sector starts piling up masses of exchanged batteries whose capacity can still be used for other applications.

In response to this situation, betteries has developed the vision of an affordable - modular and mobile - refurbished e-storage system. The so-called second-life batteries are at the heart of sustainable e-mobility with storage units that do not have to be disposed of before their time. "Our batteries are also finite, but we want them to leave as small a C02 footprint as possible. We are avoiding electronic waste and protecting raw materials," as Cartsburg explains.

Since September, the Berlin-based company has been implementing the e-battery recycling plan on a large scale together with its industrial partner Renault. The necessary "used" storage units come from the car manufacturer, the know-how, the necessary processes and tools are provided by the client betteries. The first steps are always to check and classify the used modules, then to rebuild the "betteries"  from the modules that are still usable.

A refurbished unit weighs in at some 35 kg, is impact-resistant, waterproof and can be monitored remotely via telephone and/or by way of WLAN. Up to three units can be stacked on top of each other and electrically connected. Han® docking frames equipped with modular connectors – Han E® Protected + Han® 100 A module – are on the job as interfaces. The second life of such storage units is at least five years.

According to Cartsburg, betteries are the company to be allowed to market remanufactured battery systems in a CE-compliant manner. The workers in Flins-sur-Seine are currently producing ten SecondLife batteries a day in single-shift operation, while series production of several thousand units per year is on the planning agenda, as Cartsburg reports. Provided that there are enough used batteries, the limit of 1000 units will be exceeded as early as next year. "Depending on demand, however, we can also rapidly scale up production to higher levels."

betteries is expecting an increasing demand for scalable, sustainable and cost-effective storage systems. "At the moment we are coming up with new ideas almost every day," as the operations manager states. Many enquirers were looking for off-grid solutions, e.g. for film productions or large outdoor events. If you link up three reconditioned batteries together, the package achieves a capacity of 7 kWh. This makes the recycled product suitable as a power source for smaller e-transporters, as a grid buffer for feeding PV electricity into the grid or as a supply source for offgrid grids.

BetterGen Pack: Second life for e-vehicle batteries in the power supply for stages and film technology

"HARTING has supported our project right from the very beginning," says Joscha Winzer, Chief Engineer Low Voltage Battery Systems. "We got support for our technology and it didn't matter that we were 'just' a start-up. Our supply has never been at the back of HARTING's queue." The company regards see HARTING as a competent partner at their side. Regardless of the scope of delivery, the feedback from Espelkamp is always quick. "HARTING also supported us with the approval of our technology. Change requests were never a problem, because HARTING is able to draw on very many interface variants that it has already implemented."

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Paulo de Aguiar
Product Manager, HARTING Electric