Nissan reuses old car batteries for UK homes

Japanese car-maker Nissan in Sunderland will give second life to batteries that have powered electric cars around UK by providing energy storage for households.

Nissan will built batteries at its popular Leaf electric car facility and will be sold in partnership with the US power firm Eaton. Buyers will be able to choose cheaper, used batteries that are no longer fit for electric car use, or pricier new ones. They are believed to be the first British-made household batteries pitched to the embryonic UK home storage market.

With falling costs, home storage is seen as increasingly attractive in the UK, particularly to early adopters and the 850,000 homes with solar panels. Solar owners can make the electricity they generate more valuable by storing it in the battery and using it later instead of exporting it to the grid – Eaton and Nissan estimate such customers will be about £43 better off each month.

Batteries also make it easier for people to take advantage of “time of day” energy deals, which charge consumers less if they avoid periods when energy demand peaks, for example at 4-7pm on weekdays. Such tariffs are expected to proliferate as every UK home is fitted with a smart meter by the end of 2020. The lithium-ion batteries will be priced from £5,000 and up, depending on the home, with installations carried out by a nationwide network of electricians beginning in July.

Nissan is going into this market with a aim to become the market leader. The weight of Nissan and its factory in Sunderland, with Eaton’s very strong base of installers they expectations seem realistic. The new batteries will come with a 10-year warranty; those reused from cars will have a five-year warranty. While the batteries will be made in Sunderland, they will be assembled in Morocco.

Eaton and Nissan hope to woo customers with the environmental credentials of reusing old batteries and the fact that they are made in Britain.