“While hybrid and all-electric vehicles are great for the environment – giving off little or no harmful emissions -  the long term aspects are a little more troubling. What do you do with and how do you properly dispose of those large battery packs and the hazardous materials contained in them?”

Well, leave it to the National Park Service to find a green solution. Partnering with Toyota, Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Buffalo Ranch has given a whole new meaning to used-car shopping.

Recycling battery packs from older generation Toyota Camry Hybrids, the ranch uses them to store solar power. Despite being past their automotive prime, these used nickel-metal hydride batteries can still hold a substantial charge.

208 battery packs are used to store enough solar energy to power the Ranch’s five-building campus around the clock. So to put it this way: a year’s worth of sunlight provides a year’s worth of electricity.

And, with automotive battery technology improving, used Lithium-Ion battery packs will soon become available with even higher capacity. Imaginative power solutions, like the one at Lamar Buffalo Ranch, show that there’s a sustainable afterlife for these battery packs long after their initial use. 

“It’s time for me to plug in and recharge my batteries…until I see you on the next MotorNews.”