Kia vehicle at DB – Photo Source/Copyright: Kia Media
Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) continue to grow in popularity in the automotive market, and that’s an extra plus for the environment! Fewer fossil fuels, zero emissions, and a much more sustainable fuel source, however, how does this impact the environment? Mining for the resources and materials to make electric vehicle batteries is part of the equation, and then comes the question of what happens to those batteries once they are depleted. Do they end up in a landfill? Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) and Kia Corp are working diligently towards new forms of battery management services and battery reusing and recycling with their new partner, Deutsche Bahn (DB Bahnbau Gruppe).
This isn’t the first time the automotive company has collaborated to change how battery supplies and their lifetimes can affect the earth. Back in 2020, HMG partnered with SK Innovation Co. to search for ways to maximize the value of electric vehicle batteries, even when they are no longer useful for EVs and BEVs. Their goal is to make them eco-friendly and help in the reduction of carbon emissions even after their primary use. Not only will this make them a stronger asset for the future of mobile solutions in the automotive industry and both the public and private transportation sector, but it will give EV batteries a positive image overall. They will use the Kia Niro EV battery pack as a starting point, then search for solutions regarding how used EV batteries could still be used in an array of applications, including new forms of Energy Storage Systems (ESS) that are both portable and reusable. Kia’s partnership with Deutsche Bahn aims to do something similar on a much larger scale.
Across all of Europe, a prototype has already been put into place in Germany to collect discarded EV batteries and give them a new purpose. At the moment, recycled Kia EV batteries are used to power micro smart grids. DB is experienced in the recycling of spent EV batteries, having collaborated with a number of companies in this regard. Using disassembled EV battery packs, DB creates and sells second-life battery energy storage solutions throughout Europe. The components that can still generate a charge are recycled or put into a new ESS.
“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 DB shows that we regard batteries as a valuable resource in terms of a sustainable circular economy.” – Jason Jeong, the president of Kia Europe
With the new alliance, Kia Corp becomes the first supplier of mobility solutions to collaborate with DB. Currently, the original prototype used to power the EUREF-Campus in Berlin, Germany, consists of 24 battery modules manufactured from 14 double cells. The mini smart grid, a power system that employs AI to govern and manage connected energy sources, is powered by these battery cells, which are directly taken from Kia Soul EVs. The prototype is a fantastic application of a transportable and reusable ESS because it can produce up to 72 kWh of usable power while also storing solar power. What other purposes are there for discarded EV batteries?
Join the discussion on Miami Lakes Automall social media. If this article helps ease your conscience about going green, you can find great hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and EVs at Miami Lakes Automall.
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Terry is an avid Nascar fan who grew up attending races at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, just down the road from his hometown of China Grove, NC. Terry currently resides in Wellington and has been writing for 15 years. He also enjoys watching the Road Runner Looney Tunes cartoon with his two sons in his spare time.