Retired batteries stripped from high-mileage electric BMWs and Minis

16th October 2020 | Commercial Energy

One of the biggest criticisms of electric cars is what happens to their high-powered batteries once they degrade and have to be decommissioned from plug-in vehicles. Not only are EV batteries expensive for owners to replace, high-skilled workforces are required to extract valuable metals inside them, and even then, they are difficult to recycle – and this could lead to huge waste mountains, experts have warned.

German car maker BMW says it has found a resolution for its high-mileage electric vehicles, giving their batteries a second-life use as mobile power units to provide charging solutions for other plug-in cars. The auto brand will supply a British energy storage firm with decommissioned battery modules from electric BMW and Mini models that can be used in mobile power units.

Retired batteries

The aim is to provide a sustainable second-use model for the batteries, which lose capacity over time and after years of use are deemed no longer efficient for electric cars. As part of a new partnership with the car giant, which is powered by lithium-ion battery modules extracted from a Mini Electric development vehicle. It has a 40kwh capacity delivering a 7.2 kw fast charge and will be used at BMW and Mini UK events of the next year.

As more battery modules become available over time, it says it can produce combined systems with a capacity of up to 180kwh from multiple electric vehicle batteries, which will be able to provide charges at rates of up to 50kw. “When these units are used to displace conventional ways of generating temporary power, the battery modules will at least double the CO2 reduction achieved in their original use in the car, continuing their positive impact in reducing carbon emissions,” says the energy storage company.

Commenting on the partnership, Graeme Grieve, CEO at BMW Group UK, said, “BMW Group will have 25 electrified models on the roads by 2023 – half of them fully electric. We are delighted to work with Off Grid Energy to find a sustainable way of continuing to use these valuable batteries, even after they have put in many years of service in our electrified cars.”

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