By David Thomas on July 19, 2011
GM and power grid company ABB Group have been looking at what to do with all those giant lithium-ion batteries in the Chevy Volt after their lives of powering the car are over.
While the batteries lose capacity over time and won’t be able to perform in the Volt forever — there’s an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on the battery — GM wants to reuse the batteries as energy storage devices.
A recent study conducted by the two companies found that 33 Volt batteries rendered unfit for vehicle use could power 50 homes for up to four hours.
As someone who recently went through a power outage from a storm for 24 hours, this could handle about two or three blocks of my suburban street for four hours. Not enough to save the fridge, but rarely is the power out that long. Of course, it would be hard to find a place in my neighborhood to store 33 used Volt battery packs.
However, utilities will likely use the systems to store energy during off-peak hours and then discharge that power during peak times to lower costs, hopefully to the consumer.
There was no word on how long this second life of the Volt battery would last before it would eventually be drained and require disposal and recycling.
Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David