Aiways, the startup company from Shanghai, focuses primarily on sustainability. This goes far beyond the vehicles, but forms a cycle from development, through production, product life cycle and recycling.
The Chinese market offers the best environment for the production of battery electric vehicles at the moment. Nowhere else in the world can production take place more locally and with shorter supply chains. Added to this is Aiways’ innovative production facility, which was built together with Siemens completely to Industry 4.0 standards and is one of the most modern vehicle production facilities in the world. All process steps have been developed and optimized with a view to environmental compatibility and resource conservation. From chemical handling in the painting process to wastewater treatment and frequency optimization in the plant’s internal power grid – every possible saving was aligned with the company’s own “Blue and Green” strategy. “Blue” for state-of-the-art technology and “Green” for low CO2 emissions.
Aiways also goes one step further when it comes to using renewable energies. For example, the solar thermal system at the Aiways Intelligent Factory has an average daily output of 130,000 liters of hot water, which is heated to 48°C and used not only in the production process but also in the administrative buildings. In addition, there is a photovoltaic system with an annual output of 16 megawatt hours, which is the equivalent of the initial charging of over 250,000 Aiways U5 SUVs and Aiways U6 SUV-Coupés.
Best possible customer support at every point of the vehicle life cycle
In addition to innovative sales models and direct contact with customers, Aiways also stands for the best possible support beyond the life cycle of the vehicles. In Europe in particular, battery-powered products are subject to strict control and tracking, especially electric cars. “Together with strong partners, Aiways therefore ensures the implementation and fulfillment of applicable standards and laws at all times. This applies not only to the take-back of end-of-life vehicles, but also to damaged batteries in accident vehicles,” says Dr. Alexander Klose, Executive Vice President Overseas Operations at Aiways, explaining the range of services offered by vehicle recycler PRIOREC, with whom the company has entered into a cooperation agreement for the German market.
The second chance outside the car: Second Life as a sustainable reuse of high-quality drive components
In addition to the cooperation with PRIOREC in Germany, there is another cooperation with Green Vision in France, which is currently in the test phase. The company, which has ten years of experience in this field, specializes in second life use of high-voltage components from the vehicle industry and not only uses the traction batteries, but also uses the motors for various applications.
Four former test vehicles from the pre-series of the Aiways U5 SUV were handed over to Green Vision for this purpose and will now be used as test vehicles for various Second Life projects. On the one hand, electrical energy storage systems (ESS) are to be created from the high-voltage battery, which can be used, for example, to buffer renewable energies, to increase the degree of self-sufficiency of photovoltaic systems or to stabilize the grid. The second further use relates to the 150-kilowatt drive motor, which is to be used in electric-powered pleasure boats in the future.
Intelligent design of drive components as the key to optimum recycling
The reuse of components from battery-powered vehicles is nothing new. However, the advantage of the Aiways MAS platform for Second Life applications lies in the modularity of the components. “The sandwich structure of the battery in particular is perfect for recycling,” explains Yann Lelong, founder of Green Vision. “You can take out the whole battery package without much effort, and you can easily and quickly take out the individual modules, thanks to the innovative structure of the Aiways design.”
The advantages also apply to the drive unit, which combines the motor, inverter, reduction gearbox and control unit in one housing. This means that the compact yet powerful component can be used directly in other applications, such as the sports boat tested by Green Vision.
Through the second life of the essential drive components, the resource utilization of the materials used in Aiways vehicles can once again be significantly improved, which ultimately leads to a sustainable cycle. Aiways would like to research and develop even more intensively in this direction in the future and is open to cooperation requests on this topic.