Fear not, solid citizen, the BattMan approaches. This BattMan lives in Salzgitter, not Gotham, though, and isn’t a billionaire with a troubling approach to dealing with childhood trauma, it’s VW’s “Battery Monitoring Analysis Necessity” software that will help the brand recycle automotive batteries.
Initially developed by Audi as a battery diagnostic tool for the e-tron, the software has been repurposed as a quick way to check the health and life of automotive batteries to make recycling them easier, kind of like those Duracell Powerchecks you could crush your thumbs into to check the remaining battery life, only hugely more advanced.
The software will soon be used by experts at Volkswagen Group Components at its first battery recycling plant in Salzgitter. Essentially, the experts plug a device with the software into the low-voltage connectors in the battery and it can detect errors, insulation resistance, capacity, temperatures, and cell voltages.
“We are able to measure all a cell’s most important parameters,” said Axel Vanden Branden, a quality engineer at Audi Brussels. “Then a traffic light system indicates the status cell by cell – green means a cell is in good order, yellow means it requires closer inspection, and red means the cell is out of order.”
Based on the results of the test, the battery can then be reused for another vehicle if it’s in very good shape. If it’s not good enough for another VW, it can be refurbished and sent off for use in something else, like a forklift or a mobile charging robot.
If the battery is in really bad shape, it can simply be recycled for its basic materials, like aluminum, copper, plastics, and something called “black powder.” The powder contains materials like lithium, nickel, manganese, cobalt, and graphite, which can effectively be mined out of the battery and used again in other batteries.
“We know that recycled battery materials are just as effective as new ones,” said Frank Blome, head of battery cell and battery systems at Volkswagen Group Components. “These recycled materials will be used to supply our cell production activities in the future.”