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VW's battery-recycling mobile EV chargers can charge 4 cars at once

The first charger should go online in Germany next year.

I'm really digging this charger's A E S T H E T I C.

Volkswagen

Even though an EV's battery might be considered "dead" when it loses a certain amount of its capacity, that doesn't mean its remaining capability can't be used for green purposes. Enter Volkswagen's new mobile charger, which will rely on old batteries to juice up new ones.

While VW originally unveiled its concept mobile charger in January, it didn't offer much in the way of actual facts and figures. But that changes this week. These chargers are engineered to hold up to 360 kilowatt-hours of charge, and they can handle up to four vehicles charging simultaneously with a maximum quick-charge draw of 100 kilowatts.

Its mobility should provide a number of benefits. While it can remain close to a power source to provide a constant flow of energy like a static charger, it can also be disconnected and wheeled around to areas that might not have a handy hookup. Volkswagen noted that this means it can go to areas that EV chargers wouldn't otherwise serve, like music festivals. Finally, somebody's thinking about all those poor folks at Coachella!

As Volkswagen stated back in January, these chargers will run on depleted batteries from EVs running on the automaker's MEB scalable electric-vehicle platform. Of course, there are no MEB-equipped cars on the road just yet, so VW's first run of mobile chargers will likely use fresh batteries. The first charger is expected to go online in Germany next year, with full production commencing in 2020.

Once those batteries can't even hold enough charge for that job, they'll be sent to VW's Salzgitter facility, where the batteries will be properly recycled, with the automaker seeking to use the reclaimed raw materials for use in new batteries. Right now, the facility is able to recycle 53% of a battery's parts, with the hope to raise that figure to 72%, then to 97% in the future. VW says it'll be able to handle 1,200 tons of EV batteries per year to start, which covers enough batteries for 3,000 vehicles.