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Gouach is a French start-up that’s building sustainable and repairable batteries for micro-mobility operators. Its batteries are modular, so each part can be dismantled and quickly fixed. This means batteries that would previously have been discarded can be re-used.

Gouach’s Co-Founder, Alexandre Vallette, has been talking to Auto Futures.

“In 2020, I carried out a study on hundreds of ‘end-of-life’ batteries showing that almost 80% of the components were still working perfectly. The problem is that these batteries were destroyed completely because you couldn’t replace the failing components. With my co-founders, we developed an innovative and patented battery design enabling easy and fast repairs,” says Vallette.

The big problem with batteries is that they’re very difficult to recycle. Gouach’s batteries are solderless and cable-free. This makes them easier to fix than traditional e-bike batteries. At the end of their life cycles, they can also be used for other purposes, such as providing electricity to isolated communities.

“Gouach batteries are eco-friendly: made from recycled materials, designed, manufactured, and assembled in France,” he says.

Valette went on to explain how the process of fixing its batteries works. “The first step is to understand which cells are causing the failure, for this you can use the mobile app or the backend. Then, basically, all the elements are held together thanks to screws and you can replace any of them after you open the casing.”

The whole process can be carried out and completed in under ten minutes. Valette says the the process of repairing its batteries is a safe one.

“One of our key concerns at Gouach is safety. Gouach batteries are safer to repair than classical batteries due to their innovative design with no cable and no soldering. Gouach batteries are certified ICE 62133 / UN38-3,” says Vallette.

Gouach Down Tube

Getting the Green Light for Repairable Batteries

To test Gouach’s technology, it has teamed up with two leading European micro-mobility companies.

“After an 18-month research and development phase and obtaining certifications, a test phase is being carried out with Pony, the only French player in the electric bike and scooter market offering self-service high-end equipment, and so far feedback has been very enthusiastic. We are still carrying out the partnership and we are currently retrofitting the batteries we shipped in 2020 with the latest version of the electronics. This development process would not have been possible with usual batteries,” explains Vallette.

Gouach has also worked with France’s Dott to validate whether its repairable electric battery solution is a good fit for Dott’s e-vehicles.

In a blog, Dott writes: ‘If our partnership with Gouach goes well and we give the repairable batteries the green light, we’ll then proceed with all the necessary safety and environmental certifications before sending the batteries out to our e-fleets for tests in the field’.

Shared mobility operators can make use of the Gouach app to monitor the lifecycle of their batteries.

“The Gouach application connects to the batteries. It allows having real-time data on the battery’s lifecycle (such as the state of charge, number of battery cycles, state of health…). It allows operators to optimise its use and receive alerts, and accurate diagnosis in case of failure. Data on battery use can also be collected by operators at the recharging point,” says Vallette.

Dott

“Cars will progressively give way to micro-mobility in cities.”

In February 2022, the Bordeaux-based company announced it had raised €3 million in funding. The round was led by the European venture capital company Breega.

“We will use this first round of financing in 2022 to market Gouach to micro-mobility actors and expand our team, which is currently about 15 people. Our commercial plan is initially focused on B2B actors (bike-sharing fleets, delivery fleet, and E-bikes manufacturers).”

Finally we asked Vallette for his thoughts on what urban mobility will look like by 2030.

“At Gouach we are convinced that cars will progressively give way to micro-mobility in cities, as it is a more efficient and environmentally friendly way to move while reducing noise pollution. And this is true both for people and for business: cargo bikes, for example, are becoming more and more popular and have already proven their efficiency in cities. They offer cleaner, faster, and more efficient ways to deliver in cities.”

“European laws are also leaning towards this trend with more and more laws in favor of soft mobility (bicycles, bike paths construction…), CO2 reduction, and development of micro-mobility…To put a number on it, by 2030, the micro-mobility market is estimated at $198Bn!,” Vallette predicts.

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