A multi-life approach to battery utilisation

Why batteries are too valuable for recycling

As the single most cost-intensive component, the battery has a significant impact on the price of electric cars. If the price of batteries can be reduced, this will lead to an increase in the acceptance of electric vehicles, particularly in price-sensitive segments. In addition, the production and recycling of batteries has a significant environmental impact. In our PoV ‘Multi-Lifecycle-Battery’ you will learn how a multi-life concept for the utilisation of batteries can contribute to saving resources and reducing costs.

We urgently need to reduce our ecological footprint in all areas. With regard to the decarbonisation of the transport sector, battery electric vehicles are at the centre of the discussion. European car manufacturers have adapted their portfolios accordingly and new manufacturers, particularly those from China, are entering the European market directly with exclusively battery-electric vehicles. The market ramp-up of electric vehicles continues to gain momentum, particularly thanks to increasingly affordable models, although this segment still has the greatest need for action. In eight to ten years, the ramp-up of vehicles will inevitably be followed by their phase-out. The vehicles have a limited service life, which is determined not least by the performance of the battery. For this reason, it is important that we find solutions today to deal with the large number of end-of-life vehicles in an ecologically and economically sensible way.

Traction batteries play a central role in this. We have already shed light on what this means for the value chain and European manufacturers in our battery cost study. With this latest publication, we would like to take the topic further and present options for conserving resources and reducing costs.

Deloitte Multi Life Battery Approach

Multi-life approach to battery utilisation

The multi-life concept - which is not only applicable to batteries - aims to design products from the outset in such a way that they can be reused in an economically and ecologically sensible way at the end of their useful life. A modular and standardised design ensures that automated dismantling and a wide range of reuse options are available. This allows the useful life of a product to be extended beyond its life cycle, thereby reducing the product's individual ecological footprint. At the same time, the need for new products can also be reduced. The economic added value results from the actual value of the product and the value perceived by users, which can differ greatly from one another.

The opportunities presented by this concept can be clearly seen in electric car batteries:

While at a certain point the battery no longer meets the performance requirements of vehicle owners, at this point it is still very suitable for other applications with lower performance requirements. One of the reasons for this is that the batteries installed in an average electric car have a capacity of around 60 kW, which is around six times more than a typical home storage system for storing solar power. A common value, at which the battery is no longer considered to be optimally efficient, is already reached at a State of Health (SoH) of 80 per cent. The state of health indicates how efficient the battery is compared to its initial value. After use in the car, a large storage capacity is still available and can be used for other purposes.

The economic added value arises when the costs of retrieving and repurposing the battery are lower than the additional revenue that can be realised (see figure). In our PoV, we shed light on the factors that need to be interlinked for the successful realisation of multi-life:

  • New smart business concepts and ambitious entrepreneurial efforts are needed to implement multi-life and the transformation to a circular economy. 
  • Products must be adapted to the principles of design-to-multi-life as quickly as possible. Although appropriately designed vehicles can already benefit from the adapted design through improved maintenance options during their service life, the decisive concept of multi-life only comes into play after use.
  • Various players must act together. The different product manufacturers and user groups must be united via an orchestrator and, in addition, clear and standardised regulations must be created. Politicians have a responsibility to initiate and support such processes.


In our study, we analysed the cost and revenue potential and compared it in various scenarios that take technological and market-influencing changes into account. Our results clearly show the potential of multi-life, but also that multi-life is not a sure-fire success for batteries. 

In our base case, we have calculated that there are already sufficiently high revenues over the three utilisation periods to compensate for any additional costs for production and repurposing. If costs can be reduced and revenues increased, additional revenue of € 50/kWh can be achieved in the best case compared to simple utilisation. This can be used to offer the battery more favourably in all applications. In the case of vehicle batteries, this leads to a reduction in battery-related costs of up to € 3,000.


In order to calculate the multi-life potential, we not only looked at the development of the global market price for battery storage systems, but also at the technical developments in manufacturing and recycling technologies and analysed the demand and willingness to pay for used products in particular. 

Download the complete results and analyses of the PoV ‘Multi-Lifecycle-Battery’ here and read why we should not recycle batteries directly from the car. You can find more publications on digitalisation and innovative technologies in the automotive industry on our automotive overview page.

If you have any further questions about this topic and our analysis, please do not hesitate to contact our team of experts.

Deloitte supports car manufacturers and suppliers with the comprehensive expertise of its experts and consultants in successfully shaping change in the automotive sector.

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