Volkswagen Plans to Lease Used EVs to Recycle Batteries

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The battery is among the most valuable components in an electric vehicle (EV) and has a potentially longer lifespan than the car itself.
Automakers are competing to develop EV batteries with the most range and best efficiency. Volkswagen is looking to stand out with its new series of EVs.
The Volkswagen ID series includes the ID.4 and the recently announced ID.8 SUV which both have promising sets of features. While releases started as early as 2020 in Europe, VW IDs have just hit the streets in the U.S.
However, what most people don’t realize is that over 80% of the 6,000+ ID.4s sold in the U.S. have actually been leased instead, as reported by Automotive News Europe. The company still owns the cars and will get them back when the first drivers are done with their lease terms. As it turns out, this is exactly the way Volkswagen wants things to be.
Green EV charging station with trees in the background
Volkswagen is taking “reduce, reuse, and recycle” to a whole new level!

Second leases allow Volkswagen to hold onto ID Series vehicles

With car dealerships, a primary lease is the first time a new car is leased to a temporary owner. Leased cars can be used to generate monthly income and they’re typically resold to a private or commercial buyer later on.
Secondary leases, however, allow leasees to keep the vehicle for longer and for pre-owned EV IDs to be leased to someone new.
Volkswagen is moving towards second and even third-round leasing, which can put an EV into a driver’s hands for up to eight years. Interestingly, it’s all part of a strategy to avoid actually selling the cars.
The entire ID series including the ID.4 compact electric SUV is being mainly leased because Volkswagen doesn’t want to let go of car ownership. When drivers are done, Volkswagen would like their IDs back in their care to reuse the vehicles’ batteries.

Volkswagen plans to recycle EV batteries from used vehicles

EV batteries have an incredibly long lifespan. Volkswagen made them powerful to provide the distance and torque necessary for a truly functional electric vehicle design.
It is very likely that these heavy batteries will last longer than the vehicle chassis or even their market relevance. When drivers eventually move on, Volkswagen wants to recycle their batteries for new uses, which means holding onto the models.
Volkswagen then set out to lease a large number of the ID series vehicles instead of selling them outright. This allows them to work with drivers who know that the vehicles are temporary and have no problem with them being reclaimed after an accident or a long period of time.
Batteries typically have about 1,000 charging cycles in them. It would take you three years of fully draining and recharging your VW ID’s battery before reaching that limit, and most commutes are much shorter than a full battery drain.
If there are still significant charging cycles left in a chemical battery when the vehicle is done, the battery can be repurposed for all sorts of things.

What could you use a recycled EV battery for?

EV batteries often have much longer lifespans than the vehicles they go into. Allowing car manufacturers to recycle batteries for other purposes will help promote sustainability.
A lithium-ion battery can act as a charging hub for solar power, serve as backup power in a hospital, or be reused in other less demanding electric devices and appliances. Nissan is already reusing old Leaf batteries to power Japanese street lights.
This battery recycling might even be able to significantly reduce the cost of electric vehicles in the future. Although we’re not yet certain what Volkswagen plans to do with their lease-hoarded ID.4 batteries, we know it will likely be a big benefit to the environment.
Until then, it’s always a great idea to have good, affordable insurance coverage for your vehicle.
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