From repairs to production
Yedlik started in April 2020 in Oslo with the objective of eliminating the environmental and economic madness of discarding good cells, and create hundreds of fun, rewarding, local, and meaningful jobs.
We had the ambition to build an industry of repairs. With Norway on its way to generating 500 tons of dangerous waste a year just from micro mobility batteries, we wanted to build a business on reusing most of this waste.
After a company reorganzation in 2022, Yedlik changed its name to Battkomp.
The battery repair workshop
Battkomp started as a bicycle battery repair shop. We operated on the insight that most broken batteries are not worn out. We repaired thousands of batteries — swapping fuses, replacing connectors, replacing battery management systems, fixing broken connections, and rebuilding worn out packs.
However, we struggled. Key parts are not available, because bicycle manufacturers actively discourage repairs to protect their business selling overpriced batteries. We learned that in the battery business, compatibility is everything.
With the help of an Innovation Norway grant, we spent most of 2021 developing the parts that we found impossible to source even from the waste stream — battery management systems. We learned to design and produce circuit boards able to support all the common communication protocols.
These boards are actively in use in our own workshop, and we are currently looking for resellers internationally.
We also figured out how to 3D print various plastic parts to enable faster and easier battery rebuilds, and reverse engineered some chargers.
Second life batteries
We learned that many waste batteries are not worn out — and therefore could be disassembled for reuse! However, due to the small size and value of micromobility batteries, this is only viable if the process can be streamlined, and the cells are high quality.
In late 2020, we struck a deal with the scooter company Lime to disassemble tons and tons of their obsolete, but not worn out batteries. We used the cells to build the famous lithium Buddy, and hundreds of bicycle batteries.
We learned our lessons on how to — and how not to — scale work. We struggled due to difficult designs, high cost of labour, and low automation.
The Buddy car
Having established a successful battery repair cooperation on Buddy Bikes, we set out to convert a NiMH Buddy to lithium-ion. We went all-in, and used 90 electric scooters' worth of 18650 cells to build a mega-range Buddy.
It took an immense amount of work to build, and even more work to iron out the quirks of the prototype. Naturally, it was also way too expensive for such an old vehicle, not to mention that using 18650s for such a large battery is a fundamentally flawed idea unless you have assembly robots..
While the lithium Buddy couldn't turn into a commercial product, we did build a great car in the end, and learned a lot about both battery engineering and business.
Custom battery production
Our first battery design to see an actual production run was made for Hesselberg Truck AS, to replace an overpriced, unreliable, and obsolete NiMH battery pack for a popular electric pallet jack model.
This project built on our battery management platform, as well as our experience in 3D printing custom battery parts.
We produced our own software, circuit boards, cell holders, and housings.
Large scale repairs
Having learned that repairing the diverse batteries of individuals is poor business, we decided to focus on repairs for battery fleet operators, where we can invest in custom repair methodology, and provide a more efficient service.