Nissan ROAM uses old lithium-ion battery cells from old Nissan electric cars to power the Air Opus Trailer. ROAM has enough juice to power devices, small appliances, and an onboard light and heating system. (Photo via Nissan)


In an effort to reduce carbon emissions and pollution, more people are making the switch to electric cars. While they are kinder to the environment, they pose a new problem people aren’t considering. What happens to the batteries once they die? Luckily, they don’t sit in landfills. Rather, they are recycled for their material and used for other things, like car-charging stations in California or storing energy for homes in Europe. Nissan is taking similar approach by repurposing an old battery into a power source for camping trailers made by Opus.


Dubbed the Nissan ROAM, it’s a small cube filled with old lithium-ion battery cells from “first-generation Nissan electric vehicles” that attaches to the Air Opus trailer. The device can store up to 700Wh of electricity and offers an electrical output of 1kW. That’s enough to power devices, small appliances, and the trailer’s onboard lights and heating system. You can increase its output by combining ROAM with a 400W solar panel giving you enough juice to power the trailer for seven days. And when it’s time for a recharge, it’ll take an hour when plugged into a 230-volt outlet.


ROAM is also equipped with a pair of electrical outlets, four USB ports, and one USB-C port for mobile devices or to run the trailer’s mobile Wi-Fi router and Bluetooth sound system. Not only is this a great way to reuse old batteries, but it’s a simple, portable option for trailers. You don’t have to carry around a clunky generator that requires gas or diesel. It also means you don’t need to limit yourself to a campsite with power hook-ups.


Nissan ROAM sounds promising, but the device won’t be released on a massive scale for a while. Recently, Nissan announced plans to roll it out in select European markets later this year. So far, pricing has not been revealed. It’s safe to say if the initial run is successful, Nissan will begin producing ROAM on a larger scale.  


Nissan isn’t the only automaker looking to give their batteries a second lease on life. Toyota installed retired batteries outside of 7-Eleven stores in Japan to store power from solar panels. This will then be used to run drink coolers, fried chicken warmers and the like. Other companies are teaming up with startups like Box of Energy, Powervault, and Relectrify, which stores old batteries and uses them for energy storage.


It’s important to carmakers to start addressing this battery issue now so it doesn’t turn into a huge problem later. After all, electric cars are supposed to help the environment. They can’t exactly do that if the retired batteries are sitting in landfills.


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