One of the key issues with electric vehicles (EV) is the durability of their battery pack. Many seem to fail prematurely or had its entire pack replaced due to simpler warranty claim processes.
The Nissan Leaf has been around since 2011 and the company has explored many ways to restore and reuse the unfit lithium-ion batteries. Nissan together with Sumitomo Corp started the 4R Energy Corp. company to develop the technology and infrastructure to refabricate, recycle, resell and reuse the batteries in Nissan EVs – not for their scrap value, but to power other things.
One of the key benefactors of the reconditioned batteries are the automated guided vehicles (AGV) at Nissan’s Oppama plant. The AGVs, used to tow trolleys to transport tiny parts and sub-assemblies for the final fitment at the assembly line, were designed to use lead-acid batteries, like our regular petrol-powered cars.
Eight years ago, the AGVs were redesigned to use three new lithium-ion modules that are lighter and charge faster. Today, these AGVs can use the repurposed Nissan Leaf battery modules by 4R Energy.
These repurposed Nissan Leaf batteries are the perfect fit for the AGVs, as the AGVs has a fixed travelling loop that allows for a speedy charge up. This automation saves a great deal of time.
The Oppama plant, which now primarily assembles the new Leaf and Note e-Power models, has over 700 AGVs circling the assembly lines, travel on a dedicated magnetic path and equipped with sensors to avoid colliding with personnel as well as other AGVs.
Edaran Tan Chong Motor has been offering both generations of the Nissan Leaf in Malaysia, and the latest Leaf can be had with a subscription plan rather than outright purchasing it.
The plan offers the usage of the Nissan Leaf at RM 2,500 per month on a two-year contract and it includes all scheduled maintenance, a wall box charger and first year’s insurance coverage.
On a relatively similar note on promoting recycling and proper disposal of automobiles, the Malaysian government through the Department of Environment (DOE), recently launched a pilot project called Authorised Automotive Treatment Facility (AATF) to properly dispose of vehicles that are abandoned or at end of life.
It is good to know that there are not just one but eight approved places in the country to properly separate, segregate and dispose of a complete automobile responsibly to reduce harm into the already battered environment.