Tokyo, Japan – Nissan Motor Company has announced that, with partner Sumitomo Corporation, it will initiate a business venture that will give “second life” to used lithium-ion car batteries as energy storage solutions in markets worldwide.

The “Reuse, Resell, Refabricate and Recycle” business model is designed to capitalize on the supply of reusable lithium-ion batteries as electric cars gain widespread marketplace acceptance. There is currently no existing supply of large-capacity reusable batteries, but by 2010, the demand for “second-life” batteries is Japan is expected to reach the equivalent of a minimum of 50,000 electric cars per year as demand grows for an increasing range of energy storage solutions.

“We recognize Nissan’s unique responsibility as the first company in the world to commit to delivering affordable zero-emission mobility,” said Toshiyuki Shiga, Nissan COO. “Consumers are excited by the promise of all-electric, zero-emission cars, but they also want assurances that lithium-ion batteries can be reused and recycled. In fact, our batteries are not only reusable, they also contribute as a solution to energy storage.”

Even after the end of normal vehicle life, the high-performance lithium-ion batteries Nissan uses will retain 70 to 80 per cent of residual capacity, and can be reused and resold to various industries.

The agreement establishes a framework for a new joint venture company, which is expected to be operational by late 2010 in Japan and the United States. In Europe, Nissan will explore the business model with Alliance partner Renault.

By 2020, second-life batteries are expected to be in high demand in Japan for applications such as energy storage with photovoltaic solar panels, backup power supplies, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), load levelling for the electricity grid, and levelling of energy from both photovoltaic solar and wind power.

“This direct management of the battery’s entire value chain is important to ensure that our (electric vehicle) customers do not bear the cost of the battery,” said Hideaki Watanbe, head of Nissan’s zero emission business unit. “Nissan is exploring several options, including battery lease or credit model based on a monthly payment scheme. With this proposition, the total running cost, which equals the monthly battery payment plus the cost to charge the battery, is comparable to the cost to refuel a similar gasoline-powered car. Ultimately, this is a compelling economic proposition for a zero-emission car that meets all your driving needs.”

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