The single-biggest cost of an electric or hybrid car today? Batteries, of course. A full set of cells is around half the cost of many such vehicles, and that they'll likely need replacing in 10 years means we'll soon have a huge number of formerly very expensive and still very toxic entities lying about. So, many companies that produce cars containing the things are taking this opportunity to hypothesize what to do with them when you're through. They could, of course, be stripped down and recycled, but after a decade they should still offer around half of their capacity, enough to buffer the power generated in a home solar array or wind turbine. In other words: reuse is the name of the game, with SolarCity
partnering to see if the former can make use of the latter's depleted batteries. GM (creator of the Chevrolet Volt
) and Nissan (grower of the Leaf
) have recently established similar partnerships with various energy and electrics firms, meaning that today's greenest cars could continue their enviro-friendly ways in the future -- even as their shells rust away in the scrap heap.