How a company turned used Nissan Leaf EV batteries into moneymakers

The electrical grid needs more energy storage to handle the influx of renewables and electric vehicles.

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The electrical grid needs more energy storage to handle the influx of renewables and electric vehicles. That’s spurred a boom in creative ways to make grid storage cheaper.

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Some companies commercialize novel chemistries or engineer elaborate physical contraptions to store electricity. California company B2U Storage Solutions builds cheaper grid batteries by repurposing used electric vehicle batteries. 

That approach, known as second-life batteries, has been talked about for years. Numerous pilot projects and demonstrations have been funded. But it’s generally framed as something that requires years of research before it will be ready for prime time. 

What’s different about B2U is that the company has already built a project full of used Nissan Leaf batteries, and it’s been bidding into California power markets for over a year. B2U asserts that used EV batteries can make grid storage cheaper and more profitable, which is crucial to building a cleaner energy system.

Join Canary Media on a video tour of this cutting-edge facility in Lancaster, California, on the edge of the Mojave Desert.

Julian Spector is an editor at Canary Media and reports on the rise of clean energy. He worked at Greentech Media for nearly five years, and before that he reported for CityLab at The Atlantic.