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GM, ABB Plan 2012 Test Using Volt Batteries as Smart Grid Backup

“Near-new” batteries could prevent blackouts, level alternative energy sources.

by on Jul.20, 2011

Used Chevy Volt batteries could eventually help prop up the nation's creaky electrical grid.

If all goes according to plan, General Motors will be producing tens of thousands of plug-in hybrids annually in the coming years.  So, what to do with the batteries when it comes time to sent vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt to the scrapyard?

Even after a decade of use, the lithium-ion battery pack in the typical Volt should have 70% of its capacity left, according to Pablo Valencia, GM’s senior manager for battery lifecycle management.  And that means that even as the old Volt is melted down for scrap, those batteries could find new life propping up the nation’s electrical grid.

Starting next year, GM will partner with energy systems giant ABB to begin testing the use of Volt batteries as an energy storage solution that could serve a variety of purposes from preventing blackouts to helping level out the ups-and-downs of alternative energy sources like wind and solar.

Plug In!

“With 33 batteries, I’d be able to give you an uninterruptible power supply to approximately 50 houses for up to four hours during a blackout,” explained Valencia, during a teleconference briefing from the Plug-In Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.