With 130 million e-bikes projected to move off the showroom floor between 2020 and 2023, 130 million (or in some cases more) power supplies are going to go rolling with them. While happy new e-bike owners might not give it much thought at the time of purchase, the programmed obsolescence of these batteries is most certainly going to create a problem down the road.
That’s not to say that the diminishing returns in these power supplies can’t be serviced or fixed, however, the process is notoriously complex, and power supplies that have been used in EVs, for example, are often better repurposed in stationary energy storage systems.
Likewise, a study conducted on hundreds of end-of-life batteries indicated that 80% of the components involved were still in working order. The problem here is the ability to safely and easily replace the defective parts. At current standards, this process often includes shipping a power cell to specialists, a carbon-producing affair, and involves the delicate art of soldering; a procedure that places an iron, whose sole purpose is to melt metal, right next to a combustible power source. Not something done in the workshop over the weekend.
With the micro-mobility industry expected to more than quadruple by 2030, so too will the demand for power sources to propel it. Again, about that planned obsolescence problem?
Bordeaux-based Gouach is aiming to take this problem head-on, and has designed, developed, and will manufacture a solderless battery specifically intended for usage in e-bikes, e-scooters, and small electric vehicles. Adding to the joie de vivre, the company claims that any repairs to its product can be made in less than 10 minutes.
Put to the test by the climate and environmental issue consultancy Magelan, a study determined that Gouach’s offer emitted 2.6x less CO2 than convention batteries, consumed 2.5x less water, all while retaining the same efficiency as a non-Gouach battery.
The company is conducting an 18-month research and development project in conjunction with the shared micro-mobility platform Pony, garnering “very enthusiastic” feedback.
CEO and Doctor of Philosophy, Physics degree holder Alexandre Vallette comments, “Current shortages confirm it: business models based on obsolescence have no future in a world whose reserves are not, ultimately, inexhaustible. Our goal is to build and market on a large scale the very first electric battery for bicycles and scooters that can be fully repaired in less than 10 minutes. It's a big challenge but we are convinced that we can do it.”
Gouach’s €3.3 million funding round was led by Breega and saw participation from the New Aquitaine region as well as the ubiquitous Bpifrance.
“Gouach is the first European company to tackle the problem of battery obsolescence in the micro-mobility sector in depth. It's patented, smart and repairable battery is a must-have for micro-mobility manufacturers and suppliers, allowing them to reduce both costs and carbon footprint,” concluded Breega founding and managing partner Maximilien Bacot.
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