When people test-drive hybrid-electric or extended-range electric vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius or the Chevy Volt or the Nissan Leaf, the question came up, “What happens to electric vehicle batteries when they wear out?”

The answer is that when they are fully worn out, the materials will be recycled in special facilities. However, used battery packs won’t be sent straight away to the recycler. These lithium-based battery packs will still have plenty of life in them even after they are no longer be useful in their original vehicles. The most common reuse being eyed is to help in grid applications.

In this video, Jochen Kreusel, head of ABB’s Smart Grid Program, explains the potential importance of second-life batteries to grid systems and ABB’s testing of these uses in prototype distributed power grid set ups.