Putting old hybrid car batteries to good use

When people talk about how long the batteries in hybrid and electric vehicles last, keep in mind that the battery is still usable at the end of its ‘life’, it just has decreased capacity (around 80% of its original capacity seems to be a common number there).  It’d be a shame to recycle a battery with so much energy storage potential…which is why it’s nice to see things like this system from GM, designed to use the cast-aside batteries from their Volts (once they get to that age, that is…it’s still a very new car).  One of the systems shown here provides enough energy storage to power three to five average homes, so a more likely use would be in an off-grid system in a larger building, for example.  It’s an imperfect solution, but this is an emerging market and it’s nice to see that hybrid batteries have a good chance of finding life beyond the pavement.

(via Inhabitat)

Tesla is building a network of free charging stations

Tesla Motors is making great strides in eliminating the ‘range anxiety’ argument against electric cars. Their cars already offer amazing range (hundreds of miles, depending on the battery option chosen), but now they’re building a nationwide network of solar-powered charging stations where Tesla car owners can top off their cars for FREE! This means that you can drive from coast to coast for just the cost of food and lodging. No gas stations to worry about, just plan your trip accordingly and stop for ~30 minutes every few hundred miles at one of the ‘Supercharger’ stations. There are currently six of these stations in California, with a fast nationwide roll out planned.

You can read more about it in their press release or view the Supercharger website here.

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