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Volvo Buses and Batteryloop partner to give old batteries a new life

Packs unfit for service in a bus will see use in power storage for buildings and EV chargers.

Volvo's electric buses have big battery packs, but what will happen when those wear out?
Volvo AB

You may not know this, but Volvo -- and that's AB Volvo, not Volvo Cars -- makes electric buses. They're notable because more and more cities, especially European ones, are implementing stringent emissions restrictions in their city centers, and that means that diesel buses are on their way out.

Of course, buses see a lot of use, and with that use comes a lot of wear and tear, even on things like batteries. So what happens to an electric bus battery when it's reached the end of its service life? Well, previously, that answer was a bit nebulous, but now, according to an announcement made on Thursday, those old batteries are going to get a new life.

But, if they're not good enough for use in a vehicle, what are they good for? Well, all kinds of things as it turns out. Volvo is partnering with a company called Batteryloop to turn the old bus batteries into energy storage units for buildings (ala Tesla Powerwall, but possibly bigger) and for EV charging stations.

"We are delighted and proud that Batteryloop has the opportunity to buy the used batteries and develop this solution together with Volvo Buses. In addition to reuse, under the agreement we also guarantee safe and environmentally suitable recycling when the batteries come to the end of their second life as energy storage units. We thus offer a sustainable circular solution for Volvo Buses batteries. What is more, this cooperation means we can convert a cost into a source of revenue for the customer," says Rasmus Bergström, president of Batteryloop, in a statement.

Finding uses for out-of-service EV batteries is only going to become a bigger problem as EV adoption increases globally, so getting an infrastructure in place for not only further use but eventually for recycling once they're well and truly dead is incredibly important. This program looks to be a good step in the right direction.

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