BattMan ReLife assesses battery health in minutes

The first version of BattMan (Battery Monitoring Analysis Necessity) software was developed by the quality management department of Audi Brussels for the fast and reliable analysis of the high voltage battery of Audi e-tron01.

What happens to the battery when an electric vehicle has reached the end of its life? The answer is simple: the new BattMan ReLife analysis software checks their health in just a few minutes. From the start, the quick check system will be used as an initial diagnostic tool in battery recycling at the pilot plant that Volkswagen Group Components has been operating in Salzgitter since the start of the year.

Depending on the capacity detected by the inspection system, a high-voltage battery can be reused in a vehicle in whole or in part, receive a second life as a mobile or stationary energy reservoir, or the material can be returned to the production of cells by means of an innovative recycling process.

The first version of BattMan (Battery Monitoring Analysis Necessity) software was developed by the quality management department of Audi Brussels for the fast and reliable analysis of the high voltage battery of Audi e-tron01. It is already used as a diagnostic tool for several brands of the Volkswagen group.

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Robin Krause and Joachim Wöhle test the first old batteries with BattMAN ReLife in Salzgitter.

BattMan was then developed in cooperation with recycling experts from Volkswagen Group Components before the opening of the pilot battery recycling plant in Salzgitter. After several months of programming and testing, BattMan ReLife has established itself as the new analysis solution that provides a reliable first assessment of a battery in just minutes to help define its future evolution. Previously, this process took several hours.

After plugging in the low voltage connectors, the device first checks whether the battery is even capable of communicating and transferring data. The system then detects and displays all error messages as well as the insulation resistance, capacitance, temperatures and voltages of the cells. Axel Vanden Branden, quality engineer at Audi Brussels, explains: “We are able to measure all the most important parameters of a cell. Then a traffic light system indicates cell-by-cell status – green means a cell is in good condition, yellow means closer inspection, and red means the cell is down. “

This allows the user to determine the overall health of a battery. Now three options are on the table.

The first is what is called remanufacturing, a process by which the battery, due to its good or very good condition, can be reprocessed for later use as a spare part for electric vehicles after undergoing repair work reflecting its current market value. A number of related concepts are currently under review and preparation.

In the second option, a battery receives its “second life” when it has an average to good state of health that will allow its continued use outside of an electric vehicle for years to come. It can be flexible fast charging station, mobile charging robot, driverless transport system or forklift, as well as home storage system or an emergency power system.

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The third option involves efficient recycling in the pilot plant of Volkswagen Group Components in Salzgitter, where mechanical processes gently dismantle only the most completely depleted batteries in their base materials such as aluminum, copper, plastics. and “black powder”. This “black powder” contains the precious components of the battery, lithium, nickel, manganese, cobalt and graphite, which are separated by specialized partners using hydrometallurgical means before being again transformed into cathode material.

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