Toyota Looks Into Reusing Old Prius Batteries
Toyota is currently looking at possible ways for “second-life use” of used electric and hybrid vehicle batteries. The company is aiming to create a 10,000kW storage battery which is composed of 10,000 old Prius and iQ EV batteries.
This storage battery, if possible, will be absorbing excess voltage from the grid when in low use, and will also store energy produced from renewable sources like solar and wind farms, which may have unpredictable generation patterns. The stored energy will then be put back into the grid during high use, ensuring there is minimal to no energy wasted.
This project is being conceptualized by Toyota and Chubu Electric Power’s partnership, and will see a verification project within the year. If successful, products with this mechanism will be produced sometime in 2020.
Toyota mentioned that “even with reduced performance levels,” used batteries may be able to “handle adjustments in energy supply and demand,” which then allows energy suppliers to “manage frequency and voltage fluctuations in power distribution systems.”
Majority of the batteries that Toyota will be utilizing in the said project are nickel-metal hydride units, which are used by old hybrid cars like the Prius. The company predicts, however, that sometime in the year 2030, more cutting edge technology using lithium ion batteries may be used instead for plug-in hybrids and electric cars.
This endeavor by Toyota follows the same line of thinking as that of Nissan, who used old Leaf batteries to give backup energy to the Amsterdam Arena.
This joint project between Toyota and Chubu Electric Power is also geared towards harvesting rare-earth metals from the said batteries, which will then be reused for various purposes.