Gomi, a UK company that makes sustainable chargers and other devices, has launched a line of portable Bluetooth speakers built from retired Lime e-bike batteries. As part of a partnership with Lime, Gomi will use 50,000 battery cells from 1,000 old e-bikes to build the Gomi Speaker with 20 hours of battery life. They'll will launch today on Kickstarter starting at £99 ($138).
Available in green, black, blue and a color called "birthday cake," the speakers are built from 100 percent recycled plastic waste. "The sound quality and 20 hour battery life make the speakers perfect for indoors or outdoors and they come with a ‘repairs-for-life’ return service to ensure they never need to be thrown away unnecessarily," the company said.
The "damaged" batteries are cleaned up and tested before being installed in the speakers, according to Lime. Cells are considered to be dead for the purpose of an e-bike when charge cycles fall below a certain level, but they're still useful for less demanding personal electronics devices. It's better for the environment to "upcycle" lithium-ion batteries as much as possible before eventually recycling them into new batteries.
Though e-bikes and e-scooters are better for the environment than cars, they've been criticized for their relatively short lives — so Lime's project may help reduce their environmental impact. Car manufacturers like Renault and Tesla are taking similar measures on a much larger scale, upcycling car batteries for use in homes and power grids.
As mentioned, the Bluetooth speakers will go on sale at Kickstarter starting today. The usual caveats apply to any Kickstarter project (mainly, that you could lose all your money), but the speakers do appear to have solid backing from Gomi and Lime.