When discussing hybrids and EVs, and their total impact on the environment, everyone’s first worry is the batteries. What happens to these toxic slabs of precious metals when the car is being discarded? Well now GM has an answer for some of those batteries from the Chevrolet Volt. Rather than dispose of these packs of batteries in some landfill, General Motors is using them as a power source for a new IT data center at the Milford Proving Ground.
Currently a battery in the Volt is considered “dead” when it reaches 80-percent capacity maximum. In other words, it will only hold 80-percent of the power it would hold when it’s new. At that point, it becomes far less useful for a car, but it is still plenty useful as a battery. So now the batteries are being used to hold and store energy from solar cells and wind turbines. The power can then be fed back into the building to reduce running costs, or to act as backup power in case of some sort of grid failure or outage. On a good day, the solar and wind power should be enough to completely power the facility, effectively making it a carbon neutral establishment.