Nissan turns old EV batteries into portable power sources

The sources are only currently available in Japan.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Representational image of an EV battery.jpg
Representational image of an EV battery.

zorazhuang/iStock 

Japanese carmaker Nissan is turning its old batteries from Leaf electric vehicles into portable power sources that will most notably serve as a source of emergency power in dangerous disaster emergencies.

This is according to an article by ABC News published on Thursday

The news outlet reported that the company has sold more than 650,000 Leaf EVs with batteries that remain operational long after the cars cease to function. Now, it's looking to do something about the left over batteries that remain unused after the EVs break down.

Only two modules required

As such, the firm has joined forces with electronics maker JVCKenwood Corp. and manufacturer and seller of lithium-ion battery systems for hybrid vehicles 4R Energy Corp. to transform batteries that still have juice in them into power sources that are currently selling for 170,500 yen ($1,170) in Japan. 

And there’s a lot of power sources to be made as ABC News reports that the Nissan-made 4.4-kilogram (32-pound) power sources only require two battery modules while each car carries 48.

“Retired EV batteries have great potential in energy storage applications,” told ABC News Balakumar Balasingam, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Windsor who isn’t part of the new Nissan initiative.

He added that batteries in EVs become unusable when they reach a charge capacity of 80 percent. However, they still have enough power left in them to be useful in other applications.

“Without such a solution, billions of EV battery packs will be made and then prematurely recycled in the next decade. That will be a problem for sustainability,” he told ABC News.

Currently, the new portable power sources are only available in Japan.

Nissan has a long history of finding sustainable solutions for its EV vehicles.

Reducing the use of rare earth elements

The company has long been working on reducing the use of rare earth elements in its EVs with its 2020 models using up to 85 percent less of the material than the 2010 EV Leaf models. 

Most notably, the car maker also recycles motors to recover these rare earth elements. In September of 2021 it partnered with Waseda University to develop an improved method of undertaking this process.

The method the researchers conceived of was found to recover up to 98 percent more rare earth materials than traditional approaches and take up to 50 percent lesser time.

Meanwhile, in February of 2020, Nissan announced that it wanted to end all combustion engine development. In April of that same year it collaborated with NASA to conceive of an extremely efficient electric car battery that charges in just 15 minutes.

"Nissan has been a leader in electrification technology through a wide range of R&D activities, from molecular-level battery material research to the development of safe, high-performance EVs. Our initiatives even include city development using EVs as storage batteries," said at the time Kunio Nakaguro, executive vice president in charge of R&D.

“The knowledge gained from our experience supports the development of all-solid-state batteries and we've accumulated important elemental technologies.”

With its innovations, Nissan is not only providing sustainable solutions for the world’s ongoing problems, it is also ensuring it remains competitive by being at the forefront of research and development.