Converting vehicles to electric drive can roughly halve emissions and costs compared to new battery electric vehicles. Second Hand Mobility was founded to prove that the conversion of vehicles is not only feasible at low volume, but a viable option for the traffic turnaround at large.
As a proof of concept the team have developed a conversion kit for Germany's most produced motorcycle of all time: the small and iconic Simson (the picture above shows a converted model). Their conversion kit enables anyone to convert a Simson motorcycle to electric in less than one hour.
Using the Life-Cycle-Analysis Model Greet 2020, the team calculated a 48% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for converted vehicles compared to new battery electric vehicles (BEV). Costs could be roughly halved because converted vehicles use about 50% fewer new parts by weight compared to new internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEV). This would allow a larger population to afford the transition to carbon-neutral powertrains. Half of the vehicles in Europe are 10.8 years old or less, making them suitable for permanent conversion. Electrifying all of these 143 million ICEVs, rather than replacing them with new BEVs, could save 721 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions, 259 megatons of ICEV waste, and 748 megatons of resources for BEV production.
Second Hand Mobility is a highly interdisciplinary, student-led project at TU Berlin. Each semester, 15 students take the project as a class and work collaboratively on practical tasks in the field of engineering, economics, media studies and computer engineering. Carlo Schmid, a master's student of Mechanical Engineering, founded the project in April 2020. Together with Hector Alvarez, master’s student of Regenerative Energy Technologies, they run the class as tutors. Paul Haacke, a master’s student of Industrial Engineering and Management and former participant of the class, joined Carlo as a second founder of the prospective venture.
The project is supervised by Robert Liebich and consulted by other academic institutions such as the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Centre for Research Data Management and the Legal Department of TU Berlin.
The team anticipates launching their prototype conversion kit to the market by the end of 2021 and this autumn founded the spin-off venture Second Ride to implement the concept within early adopters.