Deutsche Bahn and Kia launch Second Life projects

Deutsche Bahn and Kia launch Second Life projects


With a strategic partnership, Korean car manufacturer Kia and Deutsche Bahn (DB) want to further promote the circular economy in electric mobility. Idea: Several used lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles are combined and processed into an energy store for green electricity.

The application areas of this technology, known as second-life battery storage, are diverse and flexible: For example, they store excess electricity from photovoltaic and wind energy systems, and they can, for example, hand it over for maintenance and DB distribution. plants all day. This reduces peak power costs and increases the share of renewable energy in consumption. “Saving electricity is the order of the day. Our second life battery storage systems provide a solution that is also sustainable. This is attractive to all sectors“, says Berthold Huber, Board Member for Infrastructure at Deutsche Bahn.

Encore, a subsidiary of the DB Bahnbau Group, takes the process from the purchase of used batteries to production. From 2023, Encore wants to start selling and mass producing several hundred energy storage devices. The first pilot project has been operating on the EUREF campus in Berlin since July 2022. The unit on the EUREF campus has a total of 24 battery modules with a usable capacity of 72 kWh. One of the uses of the storage on the EUREF campus is to charge electric cars – and the first car to be connected was the Kia e-Niro.

Additional storage systems will be installed at various DB locations, including the ICE plant in Leipzig, the digital test center in Scheibenberg (Saxony) and at the Zorneding facility near Munich. In principle, all companies with high energy needs and focus on renewable energy can benefit from second life storage systems.

“As one of the leading electric mobility brands in Europe, Kia will expand its global portfolio of electric vehicles to 14 models by 2027. At the same time, we are also investing in sustainable battery solutions after their first life in the vehicle. Partnership between Kia and DB shows that together we consider batteries as an important resource in the sense of a sustainable circular economy.” – Jason Jeong, President of Kia Europe

Encore receives used batteries directly from Kia dealers, inspects them and submits them for safety and quality analysis. Battery modules with sufficient remaining capacity are installed in second-life battery storage systems, and unused batteries are sent to Encore for professional recycling.

Transport of batteries in Europe and new energy storage is mainly carried out by the subsidiary DB Schenker and DB Cargo. Due to strict legal regulations for the transport and storage of battery packs, proper transport is particularly complex, as is labeling and temperature control for the trip.

Source: Deutsche Bahn – press release from 07.09.2022 / Kia – press release from 06.09.2022