The Nissan Leaf – a compact, five-door hatchback electric car – has been around since 2010, at least in the States. Once its lithium-ion batteries need replacement, the used battery packs have slowly filtered out into the Japanese marketplace as alternative energy sources such as back-up home generators. Now they’re venturing out into the world as battery packs for stationary energy storage.
Partnering with commercial energy storage company Green Charge Network, who will provide the power management software, Nissan designed the battery packs as part of the 4R Energy joint venture with Sumitomo Corp. These “second life” batteries will initially be installed at Nissan’s California facility to help offset its peak energy demand. Sometime around the fourth quarter of this year, consumers should be able to purchase these battery packs for use with renewable sources such as wind and solar.
Nissan says this is the first time used EV batteries have been introduced commercially for such an application. And they see this as “the beginning of a very big industry.”
It’s a start of a long road. Depending on consumer demand, it’s important to note that only about 100,000 Leaf’s have been sold around the world. Let’s hope that Nissan invests in this car’s value at a bigger level and produces many more of them so that there will be a large stockpile of these battery packs available for a second life use.