Nissan, not to be outdone by electric vehicle rivals Tesla Motors and GM in the business of innovating things to do with electric car batteries after they’ve outlived their usefulness in the cars themselves, has partnered with Sumitomo Corporation in Japan to conduct research on the second-life use these lithium-ion batteries could have. This partnership, which resulted in the formation of a company called 4R Energy, first started in October 2009 as a joint study.

Nissan said that 4R Energy (with 4R meaning Reuse, Resell, Refabricate and Recycle) will work towards developing the second-life battery business, especially as relates to Nissan’s upcoming Leaf electric car. The Japanese automaker said this new entity will “meet management goals for the battery’s entire value chain and energy-storage solutions. As part of this new business development, the company will conduct demonstration tests and undertake a commercialization study.”

Nissan Leaf 20k
image via Nissan

Nissan and Sumitomo, which this year opened a new division responsible for environmental businesses, are pouring 450 million yen into the venture. Nissan will have slightly more control of 4R Energy, whose target markets for its second-life battery use include Japan and the United States.

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