Automakers globally are looking at different ways to put used electric car batteries at work. A battery powering an electric car is removed and replace once their storage capacity falls below a certain level. One not suitable for automotive use, the lithium-ion battery packs still have loads of usable power capacity left and now companies like Nissan are exploring the best use to recycle that power to benefit humanity.
Japanese automaker Nissan along with 4R Energy Corporation has teamed up with the town of Namie in Japan, to install new streetlights that will be powered by a combination of solar panels and used batteries from the Nissan LEAF electric car. This new project reffered as “The Reborn Light,” is aimed at providing public lighting for Namie’s residents as part of the town’s recovery efforts following the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. Nissan in this project utilizes the growing number of used electric-car batteries that will become available as electric vehicles increase in popularity around the world.
Nissan says that "Using high-performance batteries originally developed for cars, light up areas which couldn't be lit before without worrying about electric infrastructure. Even when batteries no longer serve to power cars, they can be reborn to keep serving humans."
This project has installed streetlight that is 4.2-meter-tall and has a rather aggressive design as compared to the regular street lamps. It holds the battery in its base, while the solar panel sit at the top, just above the LED light. The lights are not connected to the grid, so even in the case of a disaster that usually knocks out the central power supply, these Nissan lights can keep on working. There are no cables of power outlets. The company will test the prototype this month with full-scale installation starting April 2018.
If this model proves to be successful then will also be replicated on the larger scale. Nissan's technology indeed has the potential to spread the light of joy using Nissan Leaf and certainly many other automakers globally would like to do more with the electric car batteries. Lighting is of course one of the numerous possible application for aging electric car batteries.