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ABB demonstrates world’s first use of electric vehicle batteries for homes

When the giant battery in your electric vehicle needs to be replaced, simply take out the old unit and plug it into the house.

That’s the vision by General Motors and ABB, who repackaged five used batteries from the Volt electric car into a modular unit which can provide three to five average homes with two hours of backup electricity.

The unit acts as an uninterruptible power supply and grid power balancing system, with the prototype providing 25kW of power and 50kWh of energy. The battery pack from the Volt can also be used to collect energy and feed it back to the grid.

According to GM, when the battery reaches the end of its life for the automotive application, only 30 percent or less of its life has been used, providing a large potential for reuse applications.

GM and ABB say the system will one day be able to power a group of homes or small commercial buildings during a power outage, allow for storage of power during inexpensive periods for use during expensive peak demand, or help make up for gaps in solar, wind or other renewable power generation.

The companies are planning to install the battery system on the grid soon in order to complete technical evaluation.

GM says future electric vehicle batteries will be similarly designed for reuse, in order to fully utilise the battery resource.

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