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Chevrolet Volt batteries could get second life

The demonstration unit used five Volt batteries to provide power to lighting and audiovisual equipment during the carmaker’s Electrification Experience. Units such as this are claimed to be able to supply three to five average American homes with electricity for two hours during a blackout.

Pablo Valencia, GM senior manager of battery lifecycle management, explained: ‘GM’s battery development extends throughout the entire life of the battery, including secondary use

‘In many cases, when an EV battery has reached the end of its life in an automotive application, only 30% or less of its life has been used. This leaves a tremendous amount of life that can be applied to other applications like powering a structure before the battery is recycled.’

GM and ABB demonstrated a similar unit last year, and the companies are working together to find ways to reuse batteries before they are recycled as part of GM’s ongoing project to reduce the lifetime environment impact of its vehicles.

Allen Burchett, ABB’s senior vice president for Business Development in North America, said: ‘The ABB-GM Volt battery system is the world’s first use of car batteries as possible back-up power for homes and other commercial uses. We will be installing it on the grid soon to complete the technical evaluation, and this will tell us all what smart grid applications are possible, like back-up power, reducing energy cost, strengthening utilities' distribution systems and storing surplus renewable energy.’

Alex Grant

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