A new frontier opens up for the recycling of exhausted electric car batteries: they can still be used to drive elevators in the event of a blackout. The project has already been carried out as a test in Japan thanks to the collaboration between Nissan and Hitachi and it seems to be giving extraordinary results because – for a large nine-seater lift – a continuous operating autonomy of 10 hours has already been achieved, equal to more than less than one full day of use of lifts disconnected from the electricity grid.
And it’s only the first step because today’s modern electric cars are capable of recharging in two directions: the vehicles can become a source of energy for homes or feed current back into the grid. So Nissan and Hitachi in Japan are also working on a project to operate the elevators with energy taken from electric cars hooked up to the grid in the garage of the building. Obviously, before parking, the customer can decide up to what limit the system can draw energy from the battery and therefore make his accumulator available to the community – for a fee
Now the project, as stated by Tatsunori Takahashi, director of the domestic business management division of Hitachi Building Systems, is ready to exit the experimental phase and in April it will become operational in several skyscrapers in Tokyo.
To us all this seems a curiosity but, for Japan often subject to earthquakes, it is an epochal turning point: it is a question of securing gigantic condominiums in emergency situations.
Of course, the speed of these elevators that travel with the backup power supply is very low, but Hitachi is very proud of its safety technology, almost “opposite” to the one that made it famous in the construction world : they are the ones who built the fastest lift in service in the world, reaching a speed of 1,260 meters per minute (or 75.6 km/h). An important record because the constant economic growth and the increase in urbanization have generated a greater demand for skyscrapers in the main Asian cities. Hence the strong demand for innovations for the development of very fast lifts, while maintaining comfort and – precisely – safety as a priority. The latter is now achieved by creating a perfect circular economy: the second use of electric car batteries avoids their destruction through the recycling and recovery of precious materials.