Nissan has opened a new factory and says it is the first recycling plant to specialise in reutilising Li-ion batteries from EVs. They shall be refabricated to go back into electric cars or fork lifts and also serve as energy storage. The facility in Namie, Japan will be run by 4R Energy, a JV between Nissan and Sumitomo Corporation.
The opening of the plant marks the start of Nissan’s battery exchange programme. Leaf drivers in Japan may trade in old batteries for refabricated ones by 4R from May. The 24 kWh refabricated batteries for the oldest LEAFs for example will be offered for 300,000 yen (about 2,295 euros), less than half the price of a new pack.
4R was established by Nissan and Sumitomo back in 2010 and has since specialised in finding effective reuses of electric-car batteries. For example, 4R has developed a system that measures the performance of used batteries, and it plans to apply this technology to batteries collected from all over Japan at the Namie plant.
And potentially from further afar. The plant in Namie will serve as the global center for 4R’s development and manufacturing. The batteries recycled will not only made into refabricated batteries for Nissan electric vehicles, but will also be used in large-scale storage systems and electric forklifts.
The town of Namie had been devastated in the 3/11 tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. The plant is part of an effort to revitalise the area. The opening of the battery recycling plant had been preceded by Nissan’s and 4R’s joint project called Reborn Light that sees Leaf batteries being reused in street lamps that work off the grid.