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Our second life story: Fostering partnerships to develop the circular economy

As part of our series of blogs outlining the story of Connected Energy and our second life battery process, we spoke to our Chief Operating Officer, Alexandre Charr, about the importance of building partnerships to create a second life for the EV market’s batteries.


It’s hard to believe that 15 years ago our CEO Matthew Lumsden, started with just an idea of ‘what comes next’ when the EV market really was just taking off, and as we approach 2024, we’re now starting to see the end of the lifecycle for an increasing amount of those ‘early years’ EV batteries.

This is where Alexandre Charr, our new COO, comes in. Alex joined the company earlier this year and has been busy leading strategic partnerships across industries, not least with battery suppliers. As the EV market grows, and more batteries reach their end of life, we anticipate an influx of automotive OEMs, vehicle providers, and fleet operators requiring support and useful initiatives to expand the usage and lifecycle of their EV batteries.

The ’what’s next’ has suddenly become an increasingly burning issue for vehicle manufacturers but this is a challenge that we are able to help solve. We have already demonstrated that there is a useful alternative to the disposal or recycling of batteries. And it’s an alternative that the world requires – by reusing batteries as an energy store, our systems can support the energy transition to a world powered by renewable energy.

We’re beginning to see a real shift in the focus on second life from vehicle manufacturers, but it has taken some time to get back to this point. We estimate a lag of around 10 – 15 years from a model’s launch to when their batteries will begin to become available. If you think back to ten years ago, there were only a handful of mass market electric vehicles available but over the next few years things are going to change rapidly.

This is where Connected Energy comes in, by helping OEMs to see the opportunities and the business case. Rather than seeing an excess of electric batteries as a costly, overlooked issue, we can help give them purpose, a second life. Connected Energy was very forward-thinking in this regard. For the last ten years, the company has proven the concept, perfected all the elements of our system’s solution – from safety to software – and now we’re able to ramp up for when batteries are available at a much larger scale.

Alexandre Charr, Chief Operating Officer, Connected Energy

Market analysts McKinsey estimate that, by 2030, second life lithium-ion battery supply could surpass 200 gigawatt-hours per year. They also estimate that the demand for utility scale lithium-ion battery storage could reach 183 GWh per year.

Alex continued: “And these figures only account for passenger cars, not buses or HGVs. So by 2030, we expect there will be sufficient second life availability to meet the growing market for battery storage. The question, therefore, must be: why opt for a system using new batteries when second life can offer so many benefits?”

With battery availability coming soon and the use-case proven, Alex’s role is to ensure that we have the right partnerships in place to benefit from these volumes. But there are key challenges facing the team – not least gaining access to the data within each battery. Connected Energy only works with OEMs who will collaborate closely with us to ensure the highest product safety and performance.

To create a second life opportunity, it requires true collaboration with vehicle and battery manufacturers. Every manufacturer works in a different way and every battery type is different, so we need to be adaptable in how we operate and create commercial agreements with partners that will give us visibility on battery health and capacity.

Alexandre Charr, Chief Operating Officer, Connected Energy

But things look set to change in the future. With European legislation on battery passports coming into play in 2027. This will provide clearer and more transparent information on battery composition, performance, and health throughout its life and at the end of life. Making things easier for companies working in the second life space.

Alex concluded: “The circular economy is going to become an increasingly used phrase in this market. At Connected Energy, we will continue to educate about the benefits of a second life use. By finding a second life use for EV batteries, we all benefit – the auto industry, the fleet operator, the energy consumer and ultimately the planet.”

Connected Energy is a world leader in battery energy storage. Our commercial systems are being used by businesses to store energy – either from renewable sources or direct from the grid. By repurposing electric vehicle batteries, we have created a solution that solves many of the power challenges businesses are facing.

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