City Football Group's chief commercial officer Tom Glick (right) and Frank Campbell, Eaton's president of EMEA, launch the partnership © Eaton
City Football Group's chief commercial officer Tom Glick (right) and Frank Campbell, Eaton's president of EMEA, launch the partnership © Eaton

Man City gets behind recycled car batteries

Japanese carmaker Nissan, power management company Eaton and Manchester City FC have partnered in a scheme to produce home energy storage units using recycled electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The system, called xStorage, connects to a residential power supply and will charge up when either renewable energy is available or when energy from the grid is cheap— typically at night, to save customers money on their utility bills, according to Nissan.

Robert Lujan, EV director at Nissan Global, said the concept was based on the fact that batteries used in the LEAF last much longer than their primary use, giving them potential for grid-connected and off-grid energy storage.

The storage units are being made at Nissan’s Sunderland plant, but assembled in Morocco, and in a bizarre commercial tie-in Manchester City fans will be able to buy them adorned with the club’s badge, reflecting Nissan’s sponsorship of the club.

At a launch event in London, Damian Willoughby, senior VP of partnerships at City Football Group, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Eaton as this relationship exemplifies the club’s ongoing commitment to sustainability.”

Vehicles typically demand very high performance from their batteries and once the battery’s capacity declines to around 70-80%, it needs to be swapped out, according to Green Tech.

However, at this point, the battery can still handle a lot of charge and discharge, making it useful for storage in less intensive stationary settings.

As of last month Nissan’s LEAF is the world’s best-selling EV, with more than 250,000 vehicles sold since its launch in December 2010, according to Bloomberg.

After Nissan technicians swap out the batteries in their LEAF vehicles at the end of their lifecycle —around eight to 12 years depending on usage— they still maintain more than 70% of their initial capacity, according to the company.

Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan Europe, said: “The new xStorage solution combines Nissan’s expertise in vehicle design and reliable battery technology with Eaton's leadership in power quality and electronics, resulting in a formidable second life battery solution.”

Prices for the units start at £5,000, depending on whether they use new or recycled batteries, and they come with a 10-year warranty. 

Nissan and Eaton first announced their partnership during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015, to tap into the growing European demand for sustainable energy.

Home energy storage has become increasingly popular in the UK. There are 850,000 homes with solar panels and Eaton and Nissan estimate they could save around £43 each month using the batteries, according to the Guardian. 

The xStorage will be in direct competition with Californian-based Tesla and their Powerwall lithium-ion wall-mounted battery, which has already been installed across the UK, aided by a high profile launch by the billionaire Elon Musk.

The Powerwall 2, costing £5,400, will be installed in British homes later in May after its launch, scheduled for earlier this year, was delayed.

Cyrille Brisson, vice-president of EMEA at Eaton, said: “We’re clearly going into this market with a view to becoming the leader of the market, with the weight of Nissan and its factory in Sunderland, and with Eaton’s very strong base of installers.”

Brisson added that Nissan and Eaton expected to sell 100,000 of the units within the first five years.

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