Audi Foundation for the Environment and Startups « Nunam » jointly developed a 100% electric tuk-tuk that uses recycled batteries. We tested the cute machine envisioned by the German-Indian company in Brussels, at Audi’s CO2 neutral factory.
Electric tuk-tuk with recycled batteries
As you know, we are not used to talking about electric tuk-tuks. However, this one still caught our attention. First of all because of that The battery is made from recycled lithium-ion cells. Interesting approach. It’s true, Prodip Chatterjee, founder of Nunam, and his team, decided to select batteries from laptops and modules previously used to power electric vehicles. Especially the Audi e-tron.
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Some copies have been sent to India. On site, electric tuk-tuks are used by fruit and vegetable sellers. Also called ” e-rickshaw “, Audi electric tuk-tuk” enabling sustainable and ecological mobility in India “. According to the German manufacturer, they specifically help reduce exhaust emissions in cities. After being used in Audi electric cars, the batteries are given a second life.
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And this is why this project makes sense. Its performance may be sufficient to power smaller, lighter vehicles, such as electric tuk-tuks. Nunam, for its part, produces “ energy storage system » from used battery modules to recharge the tuk-tuk. A solar-powered technology that is well implemented in India, where land cover is much higher than in Germany. That must be acknowledged.
This electric tuk-tuk was originally envisioned by an intern at Audi. At the Neckarsulm location, a group of 14 students created the first model. From a simple subject of study, this project has developed over several months. Prodip Chatterjee believes that “the old batteries in Audi electric models are still very powerful”. According to her, “ this could have a major impact in enabling Indian traders to gain economic independence “.
An ideal machine for major cities in India
So we boarded this machine. Tuk-tuk is easy to control. Driving is very simple and feels like a scooter. Accelerate with the right grip and brake with your feet. The small electric car has three speeds. Be careful, be alert when turning, you feel the tuk-tuk could easily roll over if you turn the handlebars too fast. There’s room in the back for at least two people.
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We can perfectly imagine its use in a large Indian metropolis: an ideal machine for sneaking around, accelerating when necessary and passing through narrow streets. Beyond the capabilities of this small car or the driving experience, it’s amazing to see that electric car batteries can be given a second life. Even though the battery is designed to last a long time, it is still possible to use it again. Second life for ” vehicles with lower range and energy requirements “.
Recharging is possible using solar energy
This electric tuk-tuk is designed to be able to recharge the public electricity network. Problem: in India, most electricity is generated from coal. Nunam has a solution: e-rickshaws charge at charging stations powered by solar energy. Photovoltaic panels located on the roofs of partner station locations allow tuk-tuks to recharge.
The operation is interesting. During the day, sunlight charges the e-tron’s battery, which functions as a storage unit. At night, electricity is distributed to electric tuk-t-uks that need it. In short, this is an interesting project that paves the way for a new means of transport in a country that has not yet made the electrification transition. In the long term, electric mobility can help India reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.
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