The Second Life (Second Hand) Market
Lithium battery prices in the second life market are dictated by supply and demand, and for the time being, much of the demand comes from the DIY (do it yourself) community. Another large influence on the price is a lack of transparency in the transactions / lack of understanding of the value of the packs by both sellers and buyers. Battery Market aims to reduce the volatility of pricing by making the transactions simpler and less risky. With the data we collect, we will be able to objectively assess the value of packs by taking into account not just popularity, but factors that drive that popularity; brand, format, ease of disassembly, size, age, SOH, and more.
In fact, in some cases the value of these batteries has been so high that they hold greater value used than some batteries do when new. There are excellent analyses on this topic such as Hans Erik Melin’s article on Circular Energy Storage (https://circularenergystorage.com/articles/2021/1/15/prices-for-used-batteries-are-higher-than-for-new-batteries-this-is-why). At the end of the day we agree with his conclusion that the total cost of pre-processed end of life batteries has to fall below 20$ per kWh, and in our assessment, this must include shipping. Our opinion is that prices will stabilize at or under 10$ per kWh + shipping once large volumes of batteries start being traded. Hobbyists have been willing to pay more so far for a few reasons.
The first would be availability, which our website aims to solve by helping promote sales.
The second would be the volume of their purchases, and we do think that this will hold true. Smaller volume purchases mean higher prices, this is not news to anyone.
Lastly, many of the batteries being sold are currently not truly end of life batteries in the sense of no longer being good for vehicles. Often times, batteries come from accidented cars and so the battery is still almost brand new (we have seen batteries with less than 20k miles on them go through various marketplaces). Since they do not require post-processing to the same extent, they of course retain a higher value. This last point muddies the waters when individuals or companies are trying to buy/sell used batteries, and our algorithms will help project the prices while accounting for such factors to help everyone get a fair deal.
Battery Market will bring stability and transparency to these prices, and anomalies such as paying more than new at equivalent volumes and quality should largely disappear. It is worth noting that EV batteries are typically some of, if not THE best cells available on the market, which means they will keep commanding a value that far exceeds that of questionably sourced low quality cells once labour is accounted for. Packs ready to be re-used as-is should retain a high resale value. These batteries are far from being trash after all.