Kia EV batteries to be recycled as energy storage

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Used Kia Soul electric car batteries to be used in prototype facility for 72kWh of energy storage.

Kia has announced a tie-up with German start-up Encore to reuse electric car batteries for energy storage in Europe.

The two firms’ first energy storage facility at the Euref campus in Berlin, Germany uses 24 former Kia Soul EV battery modules to provide a total 72kWh of capacity.

This allows Euref to store surplus solar energy generated on site for deployment at a later time (known as time-shifting), which could reduce reliance on less sustainably sourced electricity.

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This also provides security against power shortages or blackouts. Given an average household electric usage of 8kWh of energy per day, the Kia-Encore unit could sustain a family’s electrical supply for up to nine days.

To produce the unit, used Soul EV battery packs were collected from Kia dealers, dismantled and given a health check before being sent to Encore for conversion into an energy storage facility.

“It’s more urgent than ever for us to save power,” said Berthold Huber, infrastructure board member at Deutsche Bahn, which owns Encore.

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Kia Europe president Jason Jeong added: “With our success in the electrification of Kia models, we also take responsibility for the batteries beyond their lifetime in the car.

“The pioneering partnership between Kia and [Encore] shows that we regard batteries as a valuable resource in terms of a sustainable circular economy.”

A November 2021 report from the McKinsey Global Institute predicted that by 2040, the use of long-term energy storage solutions could prevent up to 2.3 gigatons of CO2 emissions annually. Meanwhile, the value of the market could exceed $1 trillion (AUD$1.48bn).

Kia Europe’s tie-up with Encore isn’t the first of its kind, either: Jaguar Land Rover has previously partnered with energy storage specialist Pramac to produce 125kWh units using old Jaguar I-Pace batteries, and Audi and Skoda established deals with RWE and IBG Cesko respectively, using decommissioned batteries from the Audi E-tron SUV, Skoda Enyaq iV, Skoda Octavia iV and Skoda Superb iV.

Skoda’s storage units are targeted at dealerships, each having a capacity of 328kWh and a power output of 150kW.

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