A Second Life for Old Vehicle Batteries
Posted by keelynet on October 9, 2010
Major automakers are looking for new ways to drive down the cost of batteries for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. GM and Nissan, which will both start selling electric and hybrid vehicles at the end of the year, have announced partnerships that they hope will find new applications for the batteries after they’ve outlived their usefulness for powering vehicles.
The battery in an electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid can cost about as much as a small car–$10,000 to $15,000. This fact, combined with the high cost of developing these vehicles, will make them unprofitable for several years, says Michael Omotoso, manager of the power train forecasting group at J.D. Power and Associates.
So finding applications for used vehicle batteries could provide automakers with valuable additional revenue. Automakers expect that most vehicle batteries ready for replacement will still be able to store between 50 percent and 80 percent of the energy that they could when they were brand-new.
That storage capacity could be valuable for a number of applications. The batteries could be used as backup power supplies for data centers or for communities that are prone to power outages.
They could also be used to help stabilize the grid, smoothing out fluctuations in supply and demand and potentially storing electricity generated by solar panels and wind farms for use during times of peak demand. – Full Article Source
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