Nissan Teams With Green Charge Networks to Give EV Batteries 'Second-Life'

Jun 15, 2015 02:34 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro

Nissan is teaming up with startup Green Charge Networks to reuse lithium-ion batteries from older Nissan Leaf EVs to store energy for commercial and industrial buildings.

Nissan, of course, is known for its flagship Nissan Leaf, which is still unquestionably the most popular electric vehicle in the world, with more than 178,000 sales since the first version launched in 2010.

Since all batteries reach a point where they can no longer power a car, owners of older Leaf vehicles have been forced to replace their batteries for new ones more than ever lately. Just because a battery can no longer power a car doesn't mean it can never be used again, according to Nissan.

"A lithium-ion battery from a Nissan LEAF still holds a great deal of value as energy storage, even after it is removed from the vehicle, so Nissan expects to be able to reuse a majority of LEAF battery packs in non-automotive applications," said Brad Smith, director of Nissan's 4R Energy business in the U.S. in a company statement.

After more than a year of testing and research, engineers from both Nissan and Green Charge Networks determined that older car batteries can, in fact, be used for commercial and industrial buildings.

A custom-built stationary storage application, powered by Green Charge's software and Power Efficiency Agreement, will allow companies to save a significant amount of money while giving the older Leaf batteries "second-life."

"Nissan looks forward to working with Green Charge Networks to get second-life vehicle batteries into the hands of customers who can realize benefits that include improved sustainability and lower energy costs," said Smith.

The first storage unit is set to be installed at one of Nissan's facilities in a couple of months to help the company offset peak electricity demand, according to Nissan.

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