One of the big questions surrounding full-electric vehicles is what to do with the batteries after they've exceeded their in-vehicle life. Well, Nissan's partnered with Sumitomo in a plan to resell the Nissan Leaf's batteries for residential and commercial uses.
The Nissan Leaf will be equipped with a 24kWh Lithium Ion battery manufactured by NEC and, over time, the performance of the battery will decline. This is the nature of batteries. When the battery's capacity reaches 80% of it's original, it'll need to be replaced. Instead of just chucking the battery and all its baked-in manufacturing, labor, research, and material costs, Nissan will instead resell them through Sumitomo. The batteries aren't after all bad, just have a reduced capacity making them no longer suitable for road use. The batteries will be sold for industrial storage or home use with an envisioned market of up to 50,000 batteries a year by 2020.
The plan will also help to reduce the purchase and lease prices of the Nissan Leaf by offsetting the high additional cost of battery — a significant benefit considering the price of competitive all-electric cars is estimated at $7,000-$20,000 over a traditional vehicle. With Nissan aiming at an annual production of 200,000 Leafs by 2012, it's a good thing they're planning end of life for those batteries now. [Financial Times]