Love it or hate it, there’s no doubt the future of motoring is electric. A raft of countries have announced their intention to ban the sale of internal combustion powered cars in the coming decades, and EV sales are increasing at an exponential rate, led by Norway where 40% of all new car sales last year were plug in electric.
There’s no denying electric vehicles mean a healthier planet for both humans and the environment, but EV’s aren’t without waste byproduct - particularly at the end of a car’s lifespan (an estimated 10-12 years). The global stockpile of used EV battery packs is currently around 55,000 but is expected to balloon to more than 3.4 million by 2025, which calls for some serious innovation in the ‘post-car’ battery business.
In Madrid with Nissan for the UEFA Champions League Final, we sat down with Nissan’s Managing Director of Energy Services, Francisco Carrenza to learn more about Nissan’s EV recycling strategy was now that the first generation of Leafs, first launched in 2010, were coming to the end of their lives.
“The Leaf is the world's best selling electric vehicle. We’ve now sold over 400,000 [Leafs] globally and we’ve come to realise that the second life of a battery is a key point. It’s becoming more and more clear that the battery life is longer than the life of the car, and we expect to see the batteries from our EV's have a 20-25 year life span.”
Some manufacturers, like Tesla, believe there “probably won’t be a suitable task” for batteries after 10 to 15 years of use. Nissan, on the other hand, are taking a much more innovative approach to the recycling of EV batteries from their Leaf range, aiming instead to provide the batteries with a second-life, with applications ranging from portable camping generators like the Nissan Energy Roam to solar street lamps that store energy to an old Leaf battery during the day, and then illuminate the roads at night. How very meta.
Nissan are also putting their used Leaf battery packs into some seriously large scale applications, with Amsterdam's ArenA stadium using a 3-megawatt backup power supply 'powered' by the equivalent of 148 used Leaf batteries.
EV's are still very much in their infancy, and if these are the sort of applications automakers are implementing so early on, we can't wait to see what the future holds for 'used' EV batteries.
The New Nissan Leaf launches in Australia on July 4 priced from $49,990.