Nissan gives LEAF batteries a second life
Nissan has formed a joint venture with Sumitomo, called 4R Energy, which will use second-life batteries from the LEAF to store energy from renewable sources to be released during peak demand times.
The first unit – a demonstrator at Nissan’s global headquarters in Japan – uses solar panels to generate electricity which are then stored in several used LEAF battery packs. Up to seven vehicles can be charged simultaneously using three quick charge points and two normal rate charging points.
Nissan claim it can generate and store enough electricity to fully charge 1,800 LEAFs annually, with a resulting reduction in CO2 emissions equivalent to 15.4 tons. The technology could be used to reduce the need for conventional power stations to be on standby, allowing renewable energy sources to be used all the time instead of being weather dependant.
There are benefits for owners, too. As well as allowing zero emission recharging, the LEAF’s expensive battery pack, which can hold enough energy to power a three bedroom home for around three days, gains an increased resale value if it can be reused.
Jerry Hardcastle, vice president, vehicle design & development, Nissan Technical Centre Europe, commented: ‘The Nissan LEAF has only just been launched, but we have to think now about how we will dispose of the car when it comes to the end of its life.
‘Although the LEAF is designed to last as long as any conventional car, some batteries will become available from accident-damaged cars sooner and we must manage the use of the parts now.’