During this nascent market phase, Aspire Engineering has also capitalised on its strong engineering position to broaden its extensive knowledge of sustainable engineering, supply chain and manufacturing expertise through quality-assured low-volume 3rd-party manufacturing of electric motors, electric quad bikes and electric watercrafts, to enable innovative small companies in this domain to bring next-generation zero emission products to market.
Q: What makes your product/research special within your industry?
A: Aspire Engineering is a service provider, focusing on the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) and, in particular, on the remanufacture of electric vehicle powertrain parts. Currently there are only three companies in the UK that do similar work. Of the three, Aspire has the greatest amount of experience in this field, engaging with OEMs on issues around remanufacturing for the past 10 years.
We believe in remanufacturing products which provide the optimum product value retention for automotive vehicle manufacturers. However, due to the current designs adopted by OEM’s, it is challenging to provide a remanufactured solution, and Aspire have identified a financial benefit can be gained just by recycling battery packs.
Remanufacturing supports the OEM warranty and aftermarket strategies to reduce costs and provide customer service beyond the warranty period. In the case of batteries, Aspire have identified opportunities for parts harvesting and second life / repurposing that can bridge the gap for product value retention for EV batteries that cannot be remanufactured. The processes will always create waste but Aspire have determined the benefits for recycling efficiently and responsibly.
Q: Why is it important to you to participate in a project like VALUABLE?
A: We’ve previously worked on two other projects that focused on the 3R’s processes for EV products and identified the end-of-life strategies for batteries. These projects showed the need to delve deeper into this specialist area to determine if there is a business case for the 3R processing of EV batteries and the VALUABLE project became the vehicle for Aspire, with the expertise provided by the consortium, to determine the requirements for a pilot facility that could deliver a 3R solution for batteries.
The focus of VALUABLE is unparallel – understanding the market, showing the potential return in recycling batteries and exploring further end-of-life options. Moreover, for the establishment of a battery remanufacturing facility, which we are very interested in, VALUABLE helps determine the ideal size of such a facility and the necessary resources.
VALUABLE is effectively pioneering a new ethos for ethical battery remanufacture in the face of the rapid increase in electric vehicles. We need to consider what will be done with the batteries powering EVs and how they can be given a second life, taking both socioeconomic and environmental concerns into account.
Q: What will be the best thing you achieve within this project?
A: We are keen to understand the different aspects of establishing a pilot facility for battery remanufacture – the costs involved, the necessary resources, skills, equipment, and testing. VALUABLE helps us expand our own knowledge and our ability to answer questions from potential investors. VALUABLE is creating a blueprint for such a facility that will be replicable across Europe.
VALUABLE also helps us explore the processes for tearing down batteries. Currently, OEMs are missing out on the potential of remanufacturing. VALUABLE pinpoints the value to be gained from giving products a second life and, in turn, helps create a positive cash flow where before products were discarded at a loss.