At Nissan’s Oppama plant near Tokyo, there are more than 700 automated guided vehicles, or AGVs, which deliver parts to workers in a car factory. Nissan, along with 4R Energy, is now repurposing used EV batteries, which no longer have enough capacity to provide sufficient EV range, to power its AGVs.
The first-generation LEAF was fitted with a 24 kWh battery pack made up of 48 modules. About eight years ago, Nissan engineers found a way to take three of these modules, repackage them, and fit them inside an AGV. Last year, they began using repurposed battery modules, instead of new ones, to power AGVs.
Nissan says lithium-ion batteries, new or repurposed, charge faster than lead-acid batteries. The AGVs recharge by stopping momentarily at a charging station along their route and incrementally top up at each passing.
While lead-acid batteries were typically replaced every year or two, the repurposed LEAF batteries are expected to last seven to eight years.
“Our customers benefit too,” said Nissan’s Masashi Matsumoto. “When used EV batteries become more valuable, trade-in prices rise.”