Sustainable Partnership – Mitsubishi and Honda Enhance EVs and Repurpose Batteries

by Laura C. Jones

Honda, the creator of the soon-to-arrive Prologue electric SUV, has joined hands with Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan’s most dominant trading entity. The mutual aim is to enhance the value proposition of Electric Vehicles (EVs) and provide a second life to aged electric car batteries.

The two companies officially embraced the collaboration–they recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU). The mutual agreement paves the way for discussions to establish two novel business models primarily benefiting Japanese owners of EVs.

A New Business Model

The first business model, entitled “Battery Lifetime Management,” will incorporate a battery monitoring system into Honda’s forthcoming mini-EVs, slated for launch in Japan as soon as next year. The primary goal of this software is to elevate the worth of the batteries set to be installed in these future EVs. The first business model–Battery Lifetime Management–brings a transformational perspective to treating used high-voltage car batteries. Conventionally, when a battery’s capacity to provide a satisfactory driving range declines, it’s seen as destined for the scrap heap – but not anymore. Through this model–such batteries won’t be considered waste or a burden to the environment. They will instead be repurposed in a way that significantly prolongs their utility.

By repurposing these batteries as stationary energy storage units, the life cycle of the batteries gets extended, and they can continue to contribute valuable service even past their prime. This might mean bringing power to off-grid locations, aiding in solar energy storage, or serving as backup power sources. The possibilities are vast and have the potential to bring about a new wave of sustainable thinking.

Eventually, when the time comes that the battery can no longer perform in this role, it is set to be recycled properly and responsibly. This will ensure that even in its end state, the battery doesn’t serve as an environmental detriment but rather becomes raw material for other applications – perhaps even new batteries. In effect, this business model gives electric car batteries a completely new life cycle, ensuring their optimal use from production to eventual disposal.

Honda’s Foray into Electric Vehicles

On American soil, Honda is all set to launch its maiden all-electric SUV, the Prologue, next year. However, Honda’s electric portfolio isn’t confined to just this release. It extends to other EVs worldwide, including an e: Ny1 crossover heading for Europe and the recently launched N-Van e: a commercial kei vehicle in Japan.

To fuel its strategic expansion–Honda is committed to dedicating over $40 billion by 2030, gunning to make hybrids and fully electric models account for up to 40 percent of total sales by the decade’s close.

Future Plans and Investments

Besides working on the Prologue, which is based on Ultium and Acura ZDX, Honda’s focus includes a series of initiatives. It is brewing its unique EV architecture, set to be the core foundation for a vehicle geared for North America in 2026. Honda is also aiming to manufacture its batteries. A fraction of this manufacturing is scheduled to occur at the company’s joint venture with LG in Ohio- a massive $3.5 billion project set to start operations in 2025. This only attests further to Honda’s commitment to usher in a sustainable future.

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