Used Chevrolet Volt Battery Packs Now Power a Data Center in Michigan

Used Chevrolet Volt Batteries Help Power New IT Building 8 photos
Photo: General Motors
Ever wondered what happens to hybrid vehicle battery packs when owners decide to scrap the cars? No, they’re not going to the dumping ground, nor disposed. At least this is the case of five Chevrolet Volt batteries that now help power an IT building.
The Detroit-based automaker dreamt up a rather curious way of salvaging the 16 to 17.1 kWh lithium-ion battery packs, with the capacity depending on the model year of the donor Volt. Five of those batteries do their best keeping the lights on at the GM Enterprise Data Center near Milford, Michigan.

Believe it or not, repurposed scrap Chevy Volt battery covers are already employed in various applications, from bat houses to nesting boxes for endangered duck species. Didn’t know that some ducks are endangered but they’re still ducks, you know. Stationary use isn’t a new concept for disposed battery packs.

In Chevrolet’s case, a big solar array and two wind turbines feed the administration building’s circuit breaker panel, where the five Volt batteries work in parallel to supply power to the building. As such, the system delivers net-zero energy use. Pretty wicked, right?

“Even after the battery has reached the end of its useful life in a Chevrolet Volt, up to 80 percent of its storage capacity remains,” declared Pablo Valencia, the senior manager of the Battery Life Cycle Management department. “This secondary use application extends its life, while delivering waste reduction and economic benefits on an industrial scale.”

In the event of an outage, the five-battery pack is there to provide back-up zap to the building for up to four hours. When there’s excess energy produced by the rather intricate system, the electric juice is sent back to the grid that supplies Milford. According to General Motors, the reuse of old Chevy Volt batteries helped the data center administration building attain LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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