Drained battery disposal is one of the pitfalls of the electric car, however GM is set to give used cells a second lease on life by collaborating with ABB Group, a power grid supplier, to store energy generated by solar and wind power systems. General Motors said that the plan is to find “creative and cost-effective methods to improve the efficiency of the country’s electrical grid” by using batteries to store energy and offload it at peak times.
GM is currently producing the Chevrolet Volt, an electric car that is set to be launched at the end of the year at a price of $41,000. The company is already trying to make the batteries as efficient as possible, but by reusing them once they are depleted the company can maximize their usage while keeping the lithium cells out of the landfills.
By using the batteries to store renewable energy generated by solar and wind sources, utilities will be able to use them to meet demand during high-peak power periods. In theory, the batteries could be used to help provide power for entire communities by acting as a back-up energy source during power outages. Businesses could also use the batteries to provide power during peak-hours, reducing their energy costs. Not bad for something that would generally be thrown away.
“Future smart grids will incorporate a larger proportion of renewable energy sources and will need to supply a vast e-mobility infrastructure–both of which require a wide range of energy storage solutions,” Bazmi Husain, head of ABB’s smart grids initiative, said in a statement. “We are excited to explore the possibility of employing electric car batteries in a second use that could help build needed storage capacity and provide far-reaching economic and environmental benefits.”
The new battery is the Chevy Volt is impressive — GM says the lithium-ion battery comes with an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty, which is reportedly the longest in the auto industry.