The Second Life of EV Batteries

The Second Life of EV Batteries

Innovative applications for reuse of electric vehicles (EV) batteries

Published on MAY 12, 2021

EV batteries recycling

What happens when an electric vehicle (EV) battery no longer meets EV performance standards which typically mean maintaining 80 percent of total usable capacity and achieving a resting self-discharge rate of only about 5 percent over a 24-hour period? Reincarnation of the innovative kind.


Batteries aren’t dead when they come to the end of their useful first life. Manufactures are resurrecting them using three solutions: disposal, recycle and most importantly, reuse in innovative applications that create significant value and encourage more renewable-power integration into grids.

Second-life solutions

Reuse is one of the cornerstones of the circular economy. When an EV battery reaches the end of its “first life”, there are several options, notwithstanding recycling, for stationary applications. One of them is EV battery reuse.

So how can an EV battery be reused?

There are two main features of EV battery reuse. Repurposing, wherein several suitable packs are selected and combined based on residual state, capacity, et cetera, is one option. Refurbishment of packs is a second viable option. Essentially packs are disassembled and then single cells are reconditioned and repacked in new modules. Repurposed and refurbished packs can then be used in stationary applications which promote affordability, energy efficiency, environmental-friendliness, and sustainability.

Enel X Circular Solutions

We measure the level of circularity of our products to help customers make the most sustainable choice.

Our project in Melilla, Spain

A concrete example is the second life battery project at Endesa Genset power plant in Melilla, Spain. We’ve constructed stations consisting of second life battery packs and integrated fast response storage technologies in the power station to respond to power imbalances. The use of second life stations during the initial minutes of these events increased system reliability and can potentially decrease or avoid load shedding events and blackouts. A direct result of the Melilla project is the development of technical standards which define test protocols and guidelines for system integration to guarantee safe operations.  As there are currently no guarantees second-life-battery quality or performance nor common standards, the project suggests establishing technical features and standards as well as the creation of open platform coordinated with car and battery manufacturers for data monitoring to establish usage and battery conditions.
Second life batteries

Second life batteries

Batteries can have a second chance to create sustainable value, enabling a more efficient energy consumption

A promising future

Innovation and Sustainability

Innovation and Sustainability

Leading the way to climate-proof technological transformation

The development of viable second life batteries and battery packs can reduce the amount of waste and also prevent the additional depletion of Earth’s minerals. Additionally, repurposing EV batteries is the more cost effective solution. In order to achieve optimum success, standards that classify batteries based on performance potential and classify storage applications based on performance needs need to be established. Once standards and guidelines are defined and second-life battery usage is implemented, a promising future of reduced carbon footprint, a reduction on mineral extraction and an increase in local economic activity will result, all positively contributing to the circular economy.


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