Old Nissan Leaf batteries are now powering the robots that used to make them

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Unless we do something proactive, we could find ourselves sitting on top of a mountain of used electric vehicle batteries over the next decade.

Studies have predicted that by 2040 there will be more than 7 million tonnes of electric batteries to be recycled. As more and more of us switch to electric power, the need for recycling facilities grows – and Nissan has come up with a wonderfully circular way to reuse the batteries in its Leaf EV.

The reason we are running to find alternative uses for EV batteries is that their entire life cycle can extend far beyond the vehicle.

It is because car manufacturers consider a EVBattery end of life when it can no longer hold more than 80% of the charge it could hold when new – but that means you still have a very functional battery.

In many cases, end-of-life EV batteries can be recycled, reconditioned, and reused in other applications when they are no longer powerful enough for use in cars.

In fact, Japanese automaker Nissan is doing just that, and it all looks wonderfully simple.

As part of its production line, Nissan uses Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs) to deliver vehicle components to human workers in the plant.

These AGVs are already battery powered, but they use old fashioned lead acid batteries that only last a few years. Not to mention how bad lead is for the environment.

However, Nissan engineers have developed a process to take three battery modules from an old Leaf and recondition them to fit into an AGV.

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Credit: Nissan