Nissan lights up a tsunami-damaged town with used Leaf batteries

Nissan's Reborn Light project combines solar panels and old batteries

One thing about electric cars is that at some point they will become old electric cars. And old electric cars have old batteries, which are a terrible thing to waste – no matter if they're in a car that has reached the end of its useable life, the batteries might still serve a purpose, or they can be recommissioned.

The first generation of the Nissan Leaf was introduced in 2010, meaning that the batteries in the oldest Leafs (Leaves?) can now be ripe for picking. Together with the 4R Energy Corporation in Japan, Nissan has started a project that will provide the Japanese town of Namie with lighting, using solar panels and used Leaf batteries. Namie was significantly damaged by the tsunami that caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, and these streetlights are part of the town's ongoing rebuilding efforts.

The hook-shaped streetlights are completely standalone, meaning that they do not require a functioning main power grid to operate. While it's churning out more and more electric vehicles, Nissan recognizes that in the future there will be a lot of decommissioned electric car batteries, and if they can be used to get an entire town back from the darkness, that's a worthy second act.

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