Honda researching ways to upcycle used EV batteries
A power cable is seen attached to an electric vehicle in downtown Vancouver, B.C. Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jonathan Hayward)
As battery electric vehicles are growing in popularity among automotive manufacturers as a result of increasingly stringent emissions standards, companies are faced with the challenge of disposing used but still chemical-rich batteries once they reach the end of their lives powering EVs. Honda announced on Wednesday that it is researching ways to give worn batteries a second life by possibly integrating them into the electric grid system.
Every day, lithium batteries move one step closer to becoming the automotive powertrain norm as manufacturers across the world work to reduce the amount of vehicle-produced CO2 emissions. As the demand for BEVs increase among consumers, so will the amount of exhausted batteries that have lost their capability to power cars.
In most cases, car batteries are simply destroyed within recycling plants, but Honda is researching ways to upcycle vehicle batteries to provide them with a second life.
Primarily, the company is working on a way to integrate the worn batteries into the American Electric Power's electricity system as a storage solution for the power grid. In fact, "The increasing volume of EVs has the potential to strain the power grid, including spikes in demand during early evening hours when drivers plug in their EVs after work," so adding more places to store power will help the energy provider meet consumer demand.
This project complements Honda's goal to reduce CO2 emissions from both its vehicles and operations by 2050 compared to 2000.
Nissan, too, has been experimenting with methods of reusing vehicle batteries once they're no longer viable power sources for EVs. In January, the company announced the NV300 concept van which doubles as a portable wood workshop whose tools can be powered by a recycled BEV battery. In February, Nissan also revealed a second camper concept that uses old car batteries to power "‘off-grid' adventures."
If such projects come to fruition not only will they assist in reducing CO2 emissions, but also improve the overall value of electric vehicles.