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Nissan Leaf battery pack – Click above for high-res image gallery

Nissan Motor Co., and Sumitomo Corporation have teamed up to establish a new joint venture focused on researching second-life options for lithium-ion batteries which no longer pack the punch required for electric vehicle (EV) duty. The joint-venture, 4R Energy, kicked off a study to "Reuse, Resell, Refabricate and Recycle" lithium-ion batteries.

Nissan will launch its battery-powered Leaf in the U.S. this fall, followed by a global introduction in 2012. The company predicts that sales of its EVs may exceed 100,000 in a few year's time. Dealing with mass quantities of spent batteries at some point down the line will be no easy task, but Nissan and Sumitomo believe that their joint effort will lead to a well-developed second-life business model for automotive batteries. Hit the jump to discover what's in store for lithium-ion batteries after their years of providing power for EVs come to a halt.


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Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Nissan]

PRESS RELEASE

Nissan and Sumitomo Establish Joint Research Company for Promotion of '4R Energy' Business


YOKOHAMA (September 15, 2010) - Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Sumitomo Corporation today announced that a new joint-venture company was established on September 14th. The company will conduct research on the second-life use of lithium-ion batteries that have been used previously in electric cars.

Naming a second-life business for recyclable advanced lithium-ion batteries as the "4R Energy" business in October 2009, both companies started a joint study to "Reuse, Resell, Refabricate and Recycle" the lithium ion batteries used in electric cars.

Nissan will launch Nissan LEAF, the company's first affordable, mass-marketed, 100% electric car, in December 2010 in Japan and the United States, followed by the global release in 2012. Meanwhile, in April 2010, Sumitomo launched a new division, the New Business Development & Promotion Division, which is responsible for environmental businesses and is working on developing new approaches to realizing a low-carbon, recycling-based society.

While the EV market is expanding, the new joint-venture company will work towards developing the second-life battery business. This will meet management goals for the battery's entire value chain and energy-storage solutions. As part of this new business development, the company will conduct demonstration tests and undertake a commercialization study.

<New Company Outline>
  • Company Name: 4R Energy Corporation
  • President: Takashi Sakagami
  • Company Address: 1-1-1, Takashima, Nishi-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture
  • Capital: 450 million yen
  • Date of Establishment: September 14, 2010
  • Stakeholders: Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (51%)
  • Sumitomo Corporation (49%)
  • Business Description: Demonstration tests and commercialization study for second-life use of lithium-ion batteries for automotive use
  • Targeted Region: Japan and North America


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      • 5 Months Ago
      'The company predicts that sales of its EVs may exceed 100,000 in a few year's time.'

      ??? Since Nissan is buiding capacity for 150,000 in the US alone, and around 260,000 worldwide, presumably they hope to sell a few more than that.
        • 5 Months Ago
        So that's how Ghosn turned Nissan around, by building factories which he hopes to operate at 38% of capacity!
        An unusual plan.
        • 5 Months Ago
        Ine,
        I believe that is Nissan numbers, rather than Leaf, allthough the US factory is to have a spare capacity of 50,000 battery packs oveer the 150,000 of the Leaf production.
        Since the article referred specifically to Nissan I did not include Renault.
        Total production for both brands is to be around 550,000, I believe, although Renault have told us that their production is to be mainly the Zoe, with 150,000, and they have the ability if the demand is there to very quickly ramp up production of these to 300,000.
        In any case, Ghosn will in fact be bitterly disappointed if Nissan sales are only 100,000 EVs in a few years.
        • 5 Months Ago
        @David Martin
        I think Eric has mixed up his quotes. I couldn't find any production numbers in the linked article. In another article by Eric, "Boston-Power chief executive officer Christina Lampe-Onnerud predicted that annual sales of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids would likely exceed 100,000 units within the next three-to-five years. "

        I'm sure Ghosn will operate Nissan's plants at more than 38% capacity. Expecting to hit 100% in the first year or two of production would be highly optimistic. Also that 150,000 capacity at the Tennessee plant is for the North American market, not just the USA.
        • 5 Months Ago
        Capacity doesn't equal production. It's easier to ramp up production when the demand increases, if you have spare capacity.
        • 5 Months Ago
        David- those are just LEAF production capacity numbers... Total Alliance EV production capacity is over 550,000 annual running by 2013 (several years). In a "few", they may have 1 million EV's on the road.

        The source article is pretty weak evidence in the claim of 100k "in a few years".

        And the Sumitomo announcement is a week old.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Nice to see they are looking into this issue.

      Off-grid solar people would probably LOVE to buy up their old batteries. What a great way to get cheap and still relatively energy dense electricity storage.
      • 5 Months Ago
       
      To the best of my knowledge, the battery in EVs manages to power houses for upwards of 3 days or so. Also, for a majority of motorists, their driving time is claimed to stand at around 1 hour.
       
      By storing power from cheaper off-peak periods, the battery in EVs is able to power a house during expensive peak periods, even better, sell excess power back to the grid simultaneously, even after its automotive life.
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'll gladly take a couple of used packs off their hands for a 'whole-house' UPS.