One of the 500 reasons people give for not buying an electric vehicle is that, after its useful safe life, the battery will have to go to some landfill somewhere and our planet is, therefore, doomed.
While there are numerous reasons why our planet is doomed, I don’t think that EV battery disposal is one of them. By the way, I have noticed that the people who tend to lodge this particular objection never seem to have a problem with what happens to the tons of trash they set out at the curb each week that magically disappears while they’re at work; and they also tend not to be recyclers, but that’s probably beside the point.
The point is that it’s an objection with no legs.
First of all, as Brammo has stated on the Brammo Owners Forum:
Remember – when your Enertia batteries hit 2,000 full cycles they don’t just drop dead. They will have been sliding gracefully towards 80% of their original capacity over 2000 cycles. So here are your choices at that point:
• Do nothing the bike works just fine and you are totally happy.
• Replace with original specification Valence batteries.
• Install a different “go farther” battery set supplied by Brammo.
• Install a different “go farther” battery set supplied by a third party.
• Sell your iconic Enertia on e-Bay (did Brian name that too?) for $50k buy a brand new Brammo and put the rest in your 401K
But for the direct answer to the question: after that, what do I do with my old batteries?, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will soon have some answers for you.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), industry and academia are teaming to give batteries from electric drive vehicles (EV) a “second life.” NREL’s partner is an industry-academia team led by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE).
Possible secondary uses for lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries include residential and commercial electric power management, power grid stabilization to help provide reliable electricity to users, and renewable energy system firming — which in this case involves using batteries to make power provided to the grid by variable resources such as wind and solar energy more useable. To date, no one has comprehensively studied the feasibility, durability, and value of Li-ion batteries for second-use applications.
The project will begin with a comprehensive technical and economic analysis addressing all aspects of a battery’s lifecycle in search of the best second-use strategies, followed by a comprehensive test program to verify findings, particularly battery lifetimes. For the field test, researchers will deploy aged EV batteries at the University of California (UC), San Diego’s campus-wide electric power grid. The results of the study will:
- Provide validated tools and data on battery life to industry for battery reuse
- Recommendations for EV battery design and manufacturing practices
- Identify the necessary regulatory changes to encourage secondary battery use
- Assess the economic benefit of second uses
Basically the study can be summarized in this statement:
It might be the case that while a battery no longer has sufficient power for an EV, it still has the capability to meet the needs of other less demanding applications.
What’s your next objection?