Just when you thought you were being kind to the environment by driving an electric car, the truth is… now you’re doing even more good! The one drawback of the electric car was the environmental scourge that is the battery. While the lifetime of some matched that of the car itself, most endured general wear and tear over time and needed to be replaced, leaving the old battery by the wayside. With the number of green vehicles such as these on the rise, that was a lot of dead, useless weight with nowhere to go. Most got recycled but some were simply discarded. Recycling is great, but why recycle when you can reuse?
What you may not know is that while a seemingly lifeless battery may no longer be able to power a whole car, it can still hold up to 80% of its charge. This perfectly good power source can potentially be utilized at solar plants and wind farms to store surplus power. This will be undoubtedly handy when forces beyond anyone’s control prevent power generation (such as overcast days or calm winds), and the battery is needed to feed back its energy to keep things running.
Unfortunately, it’s not a permanent solution, but it is a helpful alternative for now. Not only supporting natural power sources, consumers can also look forward to lining their pockets with the extra cash gained from selling their batteries. However, if this prospect really takes off, automakers will likely begin to lease their batteries and cut deals with renewable energy companies to help subsidize their costs. This means lowered costs to the buyer, in the price of the car itself, the battery or both.
Already, two auto firms are keen to the idea. Nissan has been exploring the potential since last October when they launched their 4R initiative: Reuse, Resell, Refabricate and Recycle. UK-based startup Liberty Electric Cars are currently in discussion with leading onshore wind farm developers, including EDF Energy, Scottish Power and Eon. Barry Shrier, founder and chief executive of Liberty, hopes to make the official announcement on the company’s plans to reuse old batteries before the end of the year. Being the most expensive part of an electric car, any opportunity a battery has to go the extra mile is worth looking into.