Why Toyota recycling batteries is a big deal

We can’t deny that electricity is upon us. In fact, we’ve reported several times how nations have vowed to ban internal combustion engines within the next decade or so, with the recent Euro 7 emissions rule in the Old Continent moving up the schedule as early as 2026.

With this in mind, the electrification of vehicles globally is within earshot, despite the Philippines only getting a mainstream EV just this year.

But is electrification really clean? One can argue that the energy from the power grid isn’t necessarily sustainable, which meant that we’re only transferring the unwanted emissions waste to a different output. 

Worse, the batteries used in EVs and hybrid vehicles will be up for disposal, which is another story but a harrowing one nonetheless – kind of reminds me how the usage of plastic was considered genius back in the day only to find out that it will be the worst pollutant that this world has ever seen, but I digress.

That doesn’t mean that automakers are short-sighted in this regard. Nissan and BYD, both leaders in the battery-electric vehicle segment, have already started working on utilizing used EV batteries.

Moreover, Toyota has recently announced a bold move to solve the issue of batteries’ afterlife. As a world leader in hybrid vehicles and a new contender in the battery electric vehicle segment, Toyota’s moves are actually under a proverbial microscope.

With that said, Toyota Motor has procured a partnership with Jera, a joint fuel-procurement venture between Tokyo Electric Power and Chubu Electric Power, Nikkei Asia reported. The partnership between the two companies aims to transform old batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles into power storage systems. 

Even better, these refurbished batteries – both lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride batteries – will be used to store renewable energy only. Renewable energy, meaning only those created through power plants using solar, wind, and other renewable sources will be used. These energy storage systems will then be connected back into the power grid.

Toyota and Jera target to develop the said recycled storage battery by the end of FY2021. By 2022, companies that agreed to join the project will commence the technical verification for practical use. In other words, these things will happen in a few months’ time. 

Now, why is this important? As mentioned, the shift towards electric mobility is happening this decade, which means more and more used batteries will be up for disposal. While isn’t the first, Toyota’s initiative should resonate in the industry and make other automakers think about the by-product of their respective EV contenders.

If you ask me, Toyota’s initiative is a bid to complete the cycle and the last piece of the puzzle that makes electric mobility truly clean.

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