General Motors, the largest US automaker and the third biggest in the world, recently announced it would employ the older batteries taken from its first-generation Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in hybrid electric car to power up an office building.
The company announced that five of its used batteries from the first generation Volt were repurposed to be used as power generators for the General Motors Enterprise Data Center at its Milford Proving Ground. The automaker is now getting ready to deliver the first units of the second-generation Volt plug-in hybrid, so the first generation model – launched back in 2009 – would see numerous units being decommissioned. But the batteries – which are usually given a lifespan of eight to ten years are still usable, so secondary purposes might see them useful. “Even after the battery has reached the end of its useful life in a Chevrolet Volt, up to 80 percent of its storage capacity remains,” comments Pablo Valencia, senior manager, battery life cycle management.
The carmaker also added they were researching the potential of other secondary functions of Volt batteries with partners in a bid to deliver a business solution for other commercial and non-commercial uses. For example, since 2012, GM has prototyped repackaged Volt batteries, using them to deliver two hours of electricity for three to five American homes. The company is focusing mostly on expanding the economic usage scenarios of the batteries after they end their usage pattern in an electric vehicle. Other rivals, such as Tesla Motors, have come up with an independent product to enter the stationary energy market.