Thursday, July 6, 2023

"Nissan Takes the Long, Costly Road to Reusing EV Batteries"

Following on July 2's "Japan’s EV ambitions pose battery recycling conundrum".

From Bloomberg via MSN, June 21:

Engineers at the plant, operated by 4R Energy Co.—Nissan’s joint venture with trading house Sumitomo Corp.—spend hours on each battery pack before shipping them out, mostly to be used again in another electric vehicle but sometimes to be repurposed in other devices, such as backup generators.

Collecting and reusing EV batteries keeps them from being discarded in landfills, where they might release toxins, or from being melted and pulled apart for their metals, which can be hazardous when done improperly. It also would reduce the industry’s reliance on the mining of costly elements such as lithium and cobalt and cut down on the carbon emissions involved in making EV batteries—the dark side of the green car business.

Moreover, creating a bigger market for used batteries could boost the secondhand market for electric cars as well, by extending their life span and bolstering their resale value, which would hasten their adoption, says Yutaka Horie, the president of 4R Energy. “For EVs to proliferate, it needs to get easier for customers to buy and sell,” Horie said as he gave a tour of the factory that opened in 2018 with local government support. Namie officials have been trying to attract industries to the area after it lost 90% of its population in the evacuations following the Fukushima disaster.

With all the nuclear reactors in the area now decommissioned, officials are seeking to host businesses dealing with renewable energy and other new technologies. Because the project would help fulfill Nissan’s goal to make EVs more sustainable and popular, profitability was never an urgent priority. But 4R hopes that with time, it will become a profitable business on its own....