German rail operator Deutsche Bahn and Kia have entered into a strategic partnership for used electric car batteries. The goal is to turn older EV batteries into high-performance energy storage units. DB startup Encore will take over procurement and production.
Encore is to start sales and series production of “several hundred power storage units” from next year. The company will receive the used batteries from Kia dealers. Encore inspects them and performs a safety and quality analysis: Battery modules with sufficient remaining capacity will then become second-life battery storage units, and unusable batteries will be professionally recycled. The logistics subsidiary DB Schenker and DB Cargo will be responsible for transporting the batteries and the new energy storage units throughout Europe.
With this cooperation, the companies want to advance the circular economy in electromobility, according to a Deutsche Bahn statement.
Deutsche Bahn sees several potential areas of use for the new energy storage units: for example, they could store surplus electricity from photovoltaic systems or provide electricity throughout the day at DB maintenance and staging facilities. “This reduces the cost of electricity peaks,” Deutsche Bahn writes. “It’s more urgent than ever for us to save power,” added Berthold Huber, Member of the Management Board of Deutsche Bahn for Infrastructure. “Our new second-life battery energy storage systems offer a solution that is also sustainable. And that makes it an attractive option for any industry.”
Jason Jeong, President at Kia Europe, commented: “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.”
The first pilot project has been in operation since July on the EUREF campus in Berlin. Other storage facilities are being built at various DB locations, including the ICE plant in Leipzig, the digital test centre in Scheibenberg (Saxony) and the train station in Zorneding in Bavaria.
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