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KIA Australia has partnered with EV battery specialist Infinitev to develop battery reuse, repurpose, and recycling solutions.

The aim is to assess EV battery health and determine if batteries can be reused in an EV or either repurposed for other battery energy systems – as used in homes and commercial applications – or recycled to extract the valuable minerals.

Infinitive, which is an automotive sustainable management business started 40 years ago and operating in Australia and New Zealand, said the rapid growth of the EV industry led to soaring demand for battery technology and with it, the potential in eco-friendly battery solutions.

Infinitev and Kia Australia will now develop sustainable and scalable solutions for EV battery management and said the partnership “would lead to new standards of excellence and reshape the future of EV sustainability.”

Infinitev general manager Dickson Leow

Infinitev general manager Dickson Leow said the company had a holistic solution that addresses the environmental concerns associated with EV batteries. 

“Our innovative reuse approach ensures that the transition to a circular economy is not only sustainable but also reduces waste and preserves valuable resources,” he said.

“Through responsible battery management, we can accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and build a greener Australia.”

Infinitive has developed a comprehensive suite of battery lifecycle management solutions. When a traction battery experiences diminished functionality within a vehicle, Infinitev first starts a physical and electrochemical safety assessment of the EV battery.

It then uses its proprietary ‘health check’ diagnostic tools to conduct thorough performance evaluations of the battery pack and its individual modules. 

It said that this comprehensive assessment yields a precise characterisation, placing the modules into one of three distinct categories:

  • A grade modules are reused to build batteries for EV traction
  • B grade modules are repurposed for battery energy storage systems
  • C grade modules are recycled by Infinitev’s partners to recover valuable materials

Kia Australia CEO Damien Meredith said: “We are currently in the very early stages of developing a solution tailored to Kia customers that will allow their electric vehicle batteries to be refurbished instead of discarded.”

Damien Meredith

“What happens to an electric vehicle battery at the end of its life is an important consideration when it comes to EV buyers, so this is a very significant program,” Mr Meredith said.

Kia Australia has a growing association with battery use in its production models, starting with the first-generation Niro in 2021. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variants of the large SUV Sorento followed along with the second-generation Niro, all adapted from platforms initially designed for internal-combustion engine models.

Kia’s journey towards becoming a truly sustainable mobility solutions leader then started with the introduction of its first vehicle built on a dedicated ‘electric global modular’ (E-GMP), the Kia EV6. The EV6 will soon be joined by Kia’s upper-large SUV, the Kia EV9.

The two companies said that the collaboration marked a significant milestone in the quest for sustainable transportation.

By Neil Dowling