If you’ve ever wondered where used EV batteries go, here’s one answer. Kia has partnered up with German rail company, Deutsche Bahn, to give the used batteries a “second life” by turning it into energy storage systems in buildings, with their first project now unveiled in Berlin.
Encore, the Deutcsche Barn-backed startup conceived specifically for this purpose, utilised multiple used batteries from Kia Soul EVs to create a prototype energy storage facility at the EUREF-Campus in Berlin, capable of supplying up to 72 kWh of power to the building as part of the Micro Smart Grid.
With 24 battery modules arranged over three racks, each made up of 14 double cells, Encore’s new energy storage system at the EUREF-Campus will help the building reduce reliance on the main grid through predictable energy flows, while also increasing the share of renewable energy use across the campus – the latter via ‘timeshifting’, by storing energy generated via solar panels to be used more efficiently during peak demand.
For the project, the Soul EV’s batteries were collected from Kia dealerships across Europe and transported to Deutsche Bahn’s dismantling partner, who stripped them to the battery module level for diagnostic testing, before reassembling the suitable modules as a static storage unit. Batteries with less-than-ideal remaining capacity will then be passed on to be recycled.
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Second-life battery storage systems such as these are set to become increasingly common, as adoption of electric vehicles continuously rise, which will eventually lead to more used batteries as they reach their end-of-life. While these batteries may not be suitable for use in vehicles any more due to degradation, they could still function sufficiently well in domestic or industrial settings.
Kia Europe President, Jason Jeong said, “With our success in the electrification of Kia models, we also take responsibility for the batteries beyond their lifetime in the car. The pioneering partnership between Kia and Encore DB shows that we regard batteries as a valuable resource in terms of a sustainable circular economy.”
Deutsche Bahn board member for Infrastructure, Berthold Huber added, “It’s more urgent than ever for us to save power. Our new second-life battery banks offer a solution that is also sustainable. And that makes it an attractive option for any industry.”