Currently the price for an electric vehicle is currently rather high, mostly because the batteries are still quite expensive. A lot of effort is put into improving the batteries and make them cheaper, but NREL is also investigating another way to reduce the costs: give the battery a second life.
The idea is not new, it has been the source of many online discussions already, but NREL is going to take a serious look into the matter and investigate the options more closely. It does make a lot of sense, a battery which can only hold 80% of its original charge for example, is not an attractive option in a vehicle (also given the current ranges), but such batteries could be ideal buffers next to an array of solar panels on your house!
Repurposed Batteries Offer Benefits for EV Owners
One advantage to utilizing these repurposed batteries is they could actually bring down the cost for electric vehicle owners. “We want to prove the battery has value, ultimately lowering the cost of owning the car for the consumer,” said Ahmad Pesaran, principal engineer on the NREL lab’s study. One plan for this initiative calls for various companies — the automaker, local utility, or finance company, for example — to retain ownership of the battery and lease it to the car owner, therefore only paying for the portion of the battery used while in the car. Research at the NREL labs looks to conclude as early as October 2012, which it will then offer the findings to anyone who wants to further explore these various ownership models.