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General Motors Begins Repurposing Chevrolet Volt Batteries At IT Offices

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Last week, it was reported General Motors would unveil a plan to repurpose batteries from Chevrolet Volt PHEVs. Today, GM has secured an essential step in understanding the best way to use the remaining energy stored inside the battery packs.

When the batteries powering the Chevrolet Volt reach the end of their life cycle in a vehicular application, 80 percent of their energy may still remain for stationary use. GM has repurposed five Chevrolet Volt batteries, along with two new wind turbines, to power the Enterprise Data Center at its Milford Proving Ground.

“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,” said Pablo Valencia, senior manager, Battery Life Cycle Management. “This secondary use application extends its life, while delivering waste reduction and economic benefits on an industrial scale.”

The five batteries provide a net-zero energy use on an annual basis, and can provide emergency backup power for four hours should an outage occur. In total, the amount of energy produced from the five batteries and the wind turbines equates to roughly the energy used by 12 households. It’s enough juice to power the administrative offices, and the lights in the parking lot across the street.

While GM reaps the benefits of the battery recycling, it’s also being used to study the application on a wider scale, and the company is working with partners to validate and test systems for other commercial and non-commercial uses.

“This system is ideal for commercial use because a business can derive full functionality from an existing battery while reducing upfront costs through this reuse,” Valencia said.

It’s an essential step in recouping the costs faced in producing the batteries. Maybe one day we will see every facility powered by recycled batteries. There certainly will be no shortage of them as the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt looks to join the EV crowd.

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