Future-proofing electric cars

What should you do with an electric car when the batteries are old and no longer working as well as when the car was new.

Ingenjör (YH), el- och automationsteknik Engineer News Sustainability
20231003 164455

Electric cars have been on our roads for quite some time now, and the number is increasing every year. What should you do with an electric car when the batteries are old and no longer working as well as when the car was new. This is what two students at el- och automationsteknik have been working on since October 2023.

In a garage in Technobothnia, fourth-year engineering students Markus Korpela and Edvin Nurmio have been working on a small and different type of car. The car is a 2010 Buddy EV, made in Norway and fully electric. It was purchased in summer 2023 by Philip Hollins senior lecturer at Novia, it would have had a range of between 60 and 100 km. The car's old batteries needed to be replaced, but it's not as simple as just plugging in new ones. When Markus and Edvin started working on the car, only a few lights worked when the new batteries were connected.

"We started by taking out the previous batteries, they were heavy and old. The replacement batteries are from a Nissan LEAF. The problems then came when the batteries were connected, and nothing happened. After that, we started looking into how to solve these problems", says Markus Korpela

Using tips they found in a Facebook group and advice from Daniel Öster, former Novia student active in electric vehicle and battery technology, Markus and Edvin started working through the problems they encountered.

Little red car model Buddt EV in an industrial setting

Batteries don't last forever, swapping out old ones for new ones gave this car some new life. In this case, even the new batteries were already used but still in very good condition.

"On this model, it is not that common to do what we did. We still see that some have done it on the Facebook page we used. Many people there had made similar changes, but here we have replaced the old nickel metal hydride batteries with lithium batteries", says Edvin Nurmio.

"On this car, it may not be that complicated to change the batteries, but if you start changing batteries on a more modern car model, it will not only be more complicated but also more dangerous, because they have higher voltage and more capacity. But with good instructions, what we have done is completely possible for almost anyone to do if you have some technical knowledge", says Markus Korpela.

Buddy is a compact electric car designed for use in urban environments. With the new batteries, Markus and Edvin expect the car to be able to run for another five to ten years.

"You can't expect to drive 10 000 km a year with this car, but in town, to the shop, to work is where it works best", says Markus Korpela.

After more work and some help from the Facebook group, the car started, and Markus and Edvin were even able to take the car out for a test drive. The technical part of the project will soon be finished.

"Everything seems to work as it should now, so we still need to write our thesis and make a few final adjustments on the car. All that remains after that is to go on a really long test drive", they say.


For more information

Senior Lecturer Pilip Hollins, Tel. +358 46 921 5722