With support from Innovation Norway, Yedlik has managed to take the leap from idea to market with the concept of repairing and selling parts of used batteries.
Sales of electric transport solutions are steadily increasing, and the corona pandemic did not affect sales of things such as e-bikes. The Norwegian Sports Industry Association estimates that approximately 80,000 e-bikes were sold in 2020.
The disadvantage is increased battery waste and a lack of solutions regarding reuse. When a battery eventually dies, the easiest option has often been to buy a new e-bike.
However, Greg Marton wants to do something about this. He has a burning desire to increase the life of batteries. In the spring of 2020, he sat alone in his apartment in Oslo and outlined possible solutions to the problem.
“Yedlik highlighted a potential solution to the waste problem related to batteries, and had clear plans for how this could be scaled up. With a well-established sustainability profile and confirmed interest from the industry, this was considered to be an exciting project that should receive further market clarification”, says Ingrid Døskeland, finance adviser at Innovation Norway’s Growth and Entrepreneurial Centre.
Funding during the start-up phase
Just over a year after receiving the market clarification grant from Innovation Norway, Greg Marton and co-founder Krystof Heger can boast of six full-time employees who repair and develop new parts for used batteries at the bicycle workshop in Oslo. The next step is to go international with the self-developed parts.
Marton has no doubt that the support from Innovation Norway has had a triggering effect for the project.
“Innovation Norway made this possible. The market clarification grant gave us the little push that allowed us to test out the business idea. Without the support we have received, this would probably have ended up as a hobby project, which I might have given up after a while.”
Marton goes on to say that while the grant contributed a modest sum to a major development project, it was enough to test out whether fixing batteries was something worth pursuing. In addition, the commercialisation grant has meant that Yedlik can devote time and resources to further developing the parts.
“The grants from Innovation Norway have allowed us to spend plenty of time thinking about and designing these complex components.”
Exporting to a global market
During the early stages, Yedlik focused on repairing used batteries. Collaboration agreements with Batteriretur and Norsirk have provided good access to batteries, and Yedlik has sifted through the waste in order to find the desired parts. This business model has limited scalability, and Yedlik’s main focus is now on developing its own components that can be used in used batteries.
Their customer group includes companies that focuses on the repair of e-bike batteries, and Yedlik aims to export the components to Sweden and the Czech Republic shortly.
“It is a global market. The bike brands used in Oslo are also on the market in São Paulo. The people repairing batteries in Buenos Aires need the same parts as here in Norway.”
The sales channel will be eBay and similar platforms, but Yedlik will offer more than just components.
“We will also sell know-how through things such as videos on YouTube that show how the components are installed and how everything works.”
Increased range and reduced weight
Battery waste from scooter operator Lime was rebuilt by Yedlik into an electric car battery, which doubled the range and reduced the weight of a Buddy car.
The company has already received a lot of attention. They were recently invited to Vestfold and Telemark County Authority to participate in a workshop for waste companies. Among other things, Yedlik presented a stunt they had done in collaboration with Lime and Buddy Electric. Used batteries from 90 of Lime’s electric scooters were used to build a battery for the Buddy Electric car. Using these batteries, which were simply going to be thrown away, the range of the electric car was more than doubled and the car’s weight reduced by 150 kilograms!
“This was a technologically cool project that shows the possibilities that lie in used batteries. We are now working on another stunt, where we are rebuilding used batteries from electric cars and putting them in solar-powered street lamps. Our vision is to make micromobility truly sustainable”, Marton concludes.