Nissan North America Inc. has partnered with three technology companies — ABB, 4R Energy and Sumitomo Corp. of America — to evaluate the re-use of lithium-ion battery packs that power the Nissan Leaf, according to a company press release.

The project’s goal is to evaluate and test residential and commercial applications of energy storage systems or backup power sources using lithium-ion battery packs reclaimed from electric vehicles (EVs) after use. Energy storage systems can store power from the grid during times of low usage and feed that electricity back into the grid during periods of peak demand. This storage system increases grid performance and provides backup power during outages.

The team plans to develop a Leaf battery storage prototype with a capacity of at least 50 kilowatt hours (kWh) — enough to supply 15 average homes with electricity for two hours.

“The agreement will allow us to evaluate the commercial viability of a grid storage solution and develop a prototype to effectively re-use Nissan Leaf batteries,” said Bruno Melles, head of ABB's medium voltage power products business, a part of the company’s power products division. ABB, a leading power and automation technology group, is headquartered in Switzerland.

EV batteries have longer lives than those of personal computers or cell phones, with up to 70% capacity remaining after 10 years of use in an automotive application. This longevity allows the batteries to be used beyond the lifetime of the vehicle for applications such as smart-grid community energy management systems or battery energy storage.

“It’s important to Nissan that we manage the complete lifecycle of the electric vehicle battery pack, even beyond its use in a Nissan car,” said Ken Srebnik, senior manager of Nissan North America corporate planning. “Innovations in energy storage systems are becoming more viable as the electric grid gets smarter, and Nissan is proud to work with ABB, 4R Energy and Sumitomo to help bring these possibilities to market.”