Ever wonder where all those electric vehicle (EV) batteries are going to go once they lack the punch to get the job done? This is a question I have asked myself many times because I know how many times I have had to put a new conventional car battery into may own cars or even had to replace the battery in my laptop or phone. We know they are eventually going to run out of juice. Apparently, those of us here at AllSmallCars.com and High Gear Media aren’t the only ones thinking about this issue; Nissan and Sumitomo Corporation have announced a new joint venture as of September 15, 2010 that’s sole focus is researching second-life options for lithium-ion batteries.
2011 Nissan LEAF prototype
Of course, Nissan is launching the all-new and zero-emission 2012 Nissan Leaf—a vehicle completely powered by electric power that comes from lithium-ion batteries. Makes sense to have a 51% stake in a venture that finds a way to reuse the waste product from those Leaf vehicles. According to the press release from Nissan, “Naming a second-life business for recyclable advanced lithium-ion batteries as the "4R Energy" business in October 2009, both companies started a joint study to "Reuse, Resell, Refabricate and Recycle" the lithium ion batteries used in electric cars.” This implies that this idea has been in the business case for the Leaf all the way along.
AESC lithium-ion cell
Bottom line—It is good to see an automotive company looking at ways to manage the life cycle of their product in a positive way. Now we just have to see what they come up with for the second life.