Kia Europe has partnered with Deutsche Bahn, DB, energy storage subisidiary Encore to source and operate batteries previously used in Kia vechicles in Encore's energy storage systems. A first smaller installation at the EUREF Campus in Berlin using Kia Sould batteries is provides 72 kWh for use in a microgrid operated by inno2grid GmbH.
For the solutions EV battery packs will be dismantled to module level and go through diagnostic testing to determine whether they can be reused or should go be sent to recycling.
DB already operates a battery take-back service across Europe primarily handled by the logistics subsidiary DB Schenker as well as DB Cargo. The dismantling and testing is taken care of by DellCon The used Kia Soul EV battery packs were collected from Kia dealers and transported to Encore’s dismantling partner, DellCon a company specialized in handling of used lithium-ion batteries.
The unit at the at the EUREF-Campus is comprised of 24 battery modules in total arranged over three racks; each module made up of 14 double cells. A novel power conversion system with an integrated battery management system (BMS) specifically developed by STABL Energy compensates for the varying states of health between the battery modules by performing passive or active voltage balancing where needed. The prototype unit will provide 72kWh of usable power to support ‘timeshifting’ – storing solar power for later use – and other applications across inno2grids zeeMobase (zero emission mobility base) at the EUREF-Campus.
Kia's involvement is only one example of the company's second life initiatives. Both Kia and sister company Hyundai have several partnerships with energy storage companies in both North America and Europe. The company has also actively been working with solutions for battery-as-a-service in order to increase the control of the battery. However still most of the batteries used in Kia and Hyundai vehicles are today not under control by the group but the owners of the vehicles, similar to most EV OEMs.