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Cummins backs second-life EV batteries

US engine manufacturer and distributer Cummins has announced an extended partnership with the University of California San Diego to analyse the most effective ways of reusing and repurposing electric vehicle batteries.

Under the agreement, UC San Diego will develop an outdoor demonstration system comprised of Cummins’ second-life battery modules. The collaboration will enable Cummins to acquire valuable data on the behaviour of its older batteries, test solutions for repurposed systems and see how far they can support energy storage for the grid.

Batteries recovered from electric vehicles retain enough capacity to provide sufficient energy for less demanding applications. Repurposing batteries in these ways not only provides a higher value through the life of the battery, it increases sustainability by postponing recycling.

Huge potential

‘Electrification has the potential to play an enormous role as we move toward decarbonisation of many industries, but in order to maximize that potential, it’s crucial that we focus on the sustainability of the entire product life cycle,’ said Julie Furber, vice president of Cummins’ Electrified Power business.

‘Design is crucial’

Mike Ferry, director of energy storage and systems at the Center for Energy Research, University of California San Diego says, ‘Battery module design is a crucial aspect to making second-life more feasible and their experience will be invaluable as we continue to develop solutions.

‘Given their reputation, global footprint, and all they’ve accomplished in the last century, it’s a real privilege to partner with Cummins on this project.’

Both parties say their partnership represents one of the first lithium-ion battery projects to exclusively study second-life battery capabilities using batteries that were designed for commercial applications.

Powertrain system designer 

Cummins, based in Indiana, established its Electrified Power division in 2018 to design and manufacture fully electric and hybrid powertrain systems along with components and sub-systems to serve commercial markets as they adopt electrification.

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