Railway crossings have a backup power supply to operate the warning signals during a power outage
Used Leaf batteries can still hold between 60 and 80% of their original charge
A remote diagnosis system can be used to check on the condition of the batteries without having to see it physically
Nissan has found a new way to repurpose electric car batteries once they have reached the end of their useful life in a car.
This new initiative will see Nissan replacing older lead-acid batteries with used Leaf lithium-ion battery packs in railway crossings throughout Japan.
These batteries serve as emergency power supplies to power the warning signals when a train is running during a power outage.
Using old Leaf batteries will allow for a longer lifespan than with lead-acid batteries that have to be changed every three to seven years.
In addition, the current system requires inspectors to visit every crossing frequently to monitor the state of charge and the condition of the batteries, which is not necessary with the Leaf’s batteries since they can be fitted with a remote diagnosis system.
According to the company, battery packs that reach the end of their useful life in a car (now up to 22 years) can still hold between 60 and 80% of their original charge, which is plenty for use as a backup unit.
Previously, Nissan had reused many second-hand Leaf battery packs to power its fleet of automated guided vehicles in its Oppama factory in Japan. These are machines are used to deliver parts throughout the factory by following predetermined magnetic tracks on the ground. They increase productivity by assuring that assembly line workers always have the parts they need for their job.