4R Energy Corporation, a joint venture between Nissan and Sumitomo corp will be selling the recycled Li-ion batteries for the first generation Leaf. The factory will be produced at the factory located at Namie, Fukushima Perfecture. The site is only 5 Km away from the site of world’s worst disaster.
The batteries will be produced by reassembling the high-performing modules and removing the cells whose performance has fallen below 80 percent. The battery packs are trucked into the plant. The flat, rectangular battery packs are then assessed. Sumitomo has developed a new way that can save time by analyzing all the 48 modules present in it in under four hours.
The plant has a capacity of 2,250 battery packs per year but would only fabricate about one hundred units annually. The research is also going on to look out if the same process can be used for the latest batteries which have a different battery chemistry.
Eiji Makino, CEO of 4R said that,
“By reusing spent EV batteries, we wanted to raise the (residual) value of EVs and make them more accessible,”
The global automakers are looking out on opportunities to find economical ways to make the Ev’s and the batteries affordable. Batteries account for about one fifth of the vehicle cost. With the sharp increase in the cost of materials that are used including cobalt and nickel. Taking this in account, recycling of batteries makes complete sense.
It would be difficult for 4R to break down and recycle the batteries alone so they are considering partnership with another company to extract the reusable materials. The profitability of this venture would still depend on the volatility of the material prices.
Source: Money Control