Deutsche Bahn (DB) has partnered with Korean car manufacturer, Kia to turn used electric vehicle (EV) batteries into storage devices for green electricity.

This initiative aims to improve the circular economy in the transition to electric vehicles, as the two companies will collaborate to convert used lithium-ion EV batteries into a powerful energy store.

Used Car Batteries
Deutsche Bahn and Kia are partnering to convert used EV batteries into energy stores

These second-life battery storage systems will have flexible applications. For example, DB hopes to use the devices to store excess electricity from photovoltaic systems which can be distributed throughout the day in its maintenance and supply plants to lower the cost of power peaks.

Jason Jeong, President of Kia Europe said:

As one of the leading brands for electric mobility in Europe, Kia will expand the global portfolio of electric cars to 14 models by 2027. At the same time, we are investing in sustainable solutions for batteries after their first life in the vehicle. The pioneering partnership between Kia and DB shows that together we regard batteries as valuable resources in terms of a sustainable circular economy.

Throughout this project, the production process will be led by encore, a corporate start-up of the DB Bahnbau Group.

encore receives the used EV batteries directly from the Kia dealers. They then undergo a series of safety and quality checks. Battery modules with sufficient residual capacity are used as second-life battery storage devices, while batteries that cannot be used are sent for professional recycling.

The Europe-wide transport of the batteries and new energy storage is primarily carried out by DB Schenker and DB Cargo.

Christian Moser, Global Solution Manager E-Mobility at DB Schenker said:

Batteries are the backbone of the ongoing electrification of mobility around the world. encore has developed an exciting solution to give old batteries a second life. We are pleased to support this innovation project with our service specially designed for battery logistics.

From 2023, encore aims to mass produce several hundred power storage devices.

A first pilot project has been in operation on the EUREF campus in Berlin since July 2022. Additional storage systems are also being built at DB’s ICE plant in Leipzig, its digital test centre in Scheibenberg and the train station in Zorneding, Bavaria.


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