Nissan repurposes used Leaf batteries for quake recovery

They will be used in portable lighting systems that require no electrical grid or generators.

Nissan will repurpose used batteries from its Leaf electric sedan to power streetlights in areas with little access to electrical grids.

In cooperation with a company called 4R Energy, Nissan will begin tests of these retired Leaf power cells on March 26 in a project called "Reborn Light." In conjunction with solar panels, the batteries will operate outdoor lighting without any connection to a power grid.

Needing no cables nor outlets, the lights will be portable and capable of being set up in remote areas. Nissan expects to deploy the battery-powered lights in emergency scenarios, regions with little infrastructure, or even in the air.

The first tests will begin in Namie, Fukushima, a small town in northeastern Japan with a population of under 20,000. Namie was devastated by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011, and rebuilding efforts are still taking place there after the deadly natural disaster.

Nissan says that in addition to lighting, it should provide a solution to the issue of what to do with used EV batteries. After initial testing, it will roll out the lights sometime in 2018.

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