Kia Europe has revealed a new partnership with Deutsche Bahn to reuse former EV batteries to develop scalable energy storage systems. The prototype is in works in Germany using Kia Soul EV batteries and marks the beginning of the automaker’s Europe-wide initiative.
The Hyundai Motor Group, Kia has fully adopted electrification as it moves toward zero-emissions and carbon neutrality throughout its businesses. Additionally, Kia and Hyundai Motor Group have invested in new technologies, like robotics and autonomy, to increase sustainability.
However, EV battery recycling is an issue. To address this issue, major manufacturers like CATL and recycling specialists like Redwood Materials are already helping reduce and reuse precious materials across the globe.
Deutsche Bahn (encore DB) has been partnering up with many businesses to procure used batteries and give them a second life as energy storage solutions.
Kia announced the details of its new partnership with encore DB in a press release today, explaining how its EV batteries will be dismantled and repurposed for a second life cycle. Under the new agreement, Kia Europe will be the first mobility solutions provider to officially partner with encore DB.
This process began with an initial prototype battery storage facility, which has already been implemented at the EUREF-Campus in Berlin, Germany. The energy storage system has 24 battery modules, made up of 14 double cells previously used in Kia Soul EVs.
These modules combine to form a “Micro Smart Grid,” which is a power grid in which different energy sources are linked intelligently. An integrated battery management system (BMS) helps balance the state of charge in each module by performing passive or active voltage as per requirement.
Kia Europe president, Jason Jeong, spoke:
“With our success in the electrification of Kia models, we also take responsibility for the batteries beyond their lifetime in the car. The pioneering partnership between Kia and encore DB shows that we regard batteries as a valuable resource in terms of a sustainable circular economy.”
The current energy storage prototype can provide 72 kWh of usable power to support the “time shifting” energy balance mentioned above, while also storing solar power for later use.
Together with its new partner in Kia, encore DB plans to expand EV battery recycling and help maintain more steady and predictable energy flows throughout Europe.