Reusing your old electric vehicle battery

Published: 15 March 2023

Text: Newslab

Photo: Angelique Culvin-Riccot

Discarded electric vehicle batteries are becoming a massive problem, and Evyon wants to fully utilize this "waste."

When talking about electric vehicles, we often refer to the battery, but in reality, the car is powered by a battery pack, which consists of multiple batteries. You may already be aware of this, but did you know that these batteries degrade at different rates?

This means that when one battery in a pack nears the end of its lifespan, other parts of the pack may still have a significant remaining lifespan.

"If a portion of the battery pack stops working, unfortunately, in many cases, it is economically advantageous to discard the entire pack," says Jørgen Erdal, co-founder and CEO of Evyon.

"We started Evyon because we saw tremendous potential in addressing the significant waste problem the world is facing while contributing to the challenge of renewable energy sources."

Breathing new life into "waste"

Estimates show that the amount of discarded electric vehicle batteries will grow to be equivalent to over three million electric vehicles by 2030. Most of these batteries are expected to be fully functional, with 70-80% of their original capacity remaining.

Evyon's business model revolves around taking used battery packs and identifying if there are still components that can be utilized further. These components are given a new life, not in electric vehicles, but in energy storage systems.

During the beginning of this year, Evyon conducted several pilot projects, delivering industrial battery systems to customers. These systems are primarily connected to solar power installations to store excess energy from solar sources. This stored energy can then be used during periods of high power consumption (or high electricity prices) to reduce reliance on the electrical grid (known as "peak shaving").

"We are now working towards starting mass production of these systems by the end of the year. We have secured funding, a great team, and almost everything we need to make it happen," Erdal explains.

Connected through Antler

Erdal was introduced to co-founder Radu Achihai through the incubation program Antler. The idea of reusing electric vehicle batteries initially came from Møller Eiendom and Møller Mobility Group and resonated with the two entrepreneurs.

Jørgen Erdal and Radu Achihai met through the Antler program in 2020. Now, their company Evyon has 30 employees and is working towards mass production of sustainable battery systems.

Erdal holds a degree in electrical engineering from NTNU and previously worked on renewable energy at Boston Consulting Group. Achihai's professional background has taken him from his home country of Romania to various places around the world.

"I am an informatics specialist who became a geophysicist and then an entrepreneur," Achihai says.

For Achihai, working with batteries made sense, especially because of his past experience in handling hazardous materials.

"Producing batteries is polluting and recycling them is challenging. Solving this problem will have a significant net benefit for the environment," he believes.

An excellent place

Evyon has experienced rapid growth. From the Antler program to the pilot phase, it has taken less than two and a half years. The company currently employs 30 people and has expanded its operations with a battery lab in Alna, focusing on full-scale production of battery systems.

Additionally, they offer a cloud-based solution that enables monitoring, performance maintenance, and extended lifespan of the systems.

All the systems developed and delivered by Evyon have been built at Oslo Science Park. Erdal emphasizes that the environment and facilities at the Park have been crucial in establishing Evyon. "It's an excellent place to be part of a community."

Although the company is outgrowing Oslo Science Park, they are happy to retain some of their premises there.

"We came to Oslo Science Park because of Startuplab. It's an excellent place to have office space and be part of a community – to make friends and find sparring partners in other companies at the same stage. For us, it has been essential that they have a hardware lab where we could develop and build our systems," says Erdal.

"We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from Oslo Science Park, which truly understands the value of supporting battery research," Achihai agrees.

Motivated by contributing to solutions

Like most founders of growth companies, Erdal and Achihai now dedicate more time to the "big picture" and entrust the daily operations to the team they have assembled.

However, their desire to contribute to climate and environmental challenges through innovative solutions remains unchanged.

"Turning something that would otherwise be considered waste into something positive is highly rewarding. I embarked on this journey with the intention of doing something positive that I could be proud of when speaking with my three-year-old daughter. That motivation still drives me," says Achihai.

For Erdal, working on sustainable solutions is crucial.

"If I want to perform at my best and deliver, I need to work on something that can make the world a better place!"