IDTechEx forecasts that the second-life EV battery market will reach US$7B in value by 2033. The second-life EV battery market adds value to future energy infrastructure, creates a circular economy for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, and provides a lower levelized cost of storage compared to new batteries.
A new IDTechEx report, “Second-life Electric Vehicle Batteries 2023-2033”, highlights advancements in the second-life industry, ranging from regulatory and technology developments to player activity in battery diagnostics and repurposing.
The bulk of EVs currently use Li-ion battery chemistries, and once their eight-to-ten-year initial lifetime has expired, they are usually unsuitable for future EV use. Battery second use (B2U) extends the lifetime of the EV battery.
Depending on the State of Health (SOH) and residual capacity of the battery, second-life batteries can be further utilized in less demanding applications, such as stationary energy storage and lower-power electromobility applications. This brings value to cross-sector stakeholders, including EV/battery manufacturers, EV customers, utilities, grid operators, energy companies, and electricity consumers.
Stakeholders must make key decisions regarding the End-of-Life management of retired EV batteries, IDTechEx says. Second-life batteries created through a remanufacturing process offer benefits of maximizing battery value and extending battery life, whereas recycling results in batteries losing this value prematurely.
If remanufacturing is chosen, second-life BESS developers must make further decisions to ensure that the creation of their second-life systems is techno-economically feasible.
Remanufacturers must consider several process operations, such as battery procurement, depth of disassembly, testing/grading, and reassembly procedures. The new report from IDTechEx assesses how these processes impact the final pricing of second-life BESS to be competitive with new Li-ion BESS.
Li-ion battery circular economy. Source: IDTechEx
Within this young yet competitive market, key players are involved in both second-life battery repurposing and retired EV battery health and performance grading. A growing number of repurposer and battery diagnostician start-ups are starting to establish robust supply chains with automotive OEMs. The lack of battery standardization is one of the key barriers in the second-life market, and so procuring a larger volume of similarly designed batteries can help simplify both data-driven battery modeling and repurposing processes.
Currently, base station backup energy in China is the dominant market for second-life EV batteries. These are replacing lead acid batteries, which have historically provided this service. However, IDTechEx has observed that the US and Europe are key regions with players making great advancements in deploying second-life BESS. These players have generally been focused on behind-the-meter installations.
However, some players who have commercialized these second-life BESS will soon be looking to scale their technologies to be suitable for large grid-scale applications. These will be suitable for use in the front-of-the-meter (FTM) battery storage market.
Large second-life BESS deployments in China are unlikely to be seen over the next few years amid a ban from China’s National Energy Administration in 2021. As repurposers in the US and Europe look to deploy more second-life BESS, the regional distribution of total second-life battery deployments could shift over the next decade, IDTechEx says.