In 2012, there were about 200.000 electric cars worldwide. Now, ten years later, more than 17 million cars are powered by electricity – an increase of 8500 percent. But the commercial success has also brought on much criticism regarding the batteries of the vehicles. Some people doubt that electric cars are a true sustainable alternative because of the raw materials used and the problematic disposal of them after usage. Others see a huge opportunity, like with the logistics industry, where old batteries get new lives.

Battery Logistics – Best Practice 

The Korean carmaker Kia, Deutsche Bahn (DB) and DB Schenker have partnered up to increase the lifespan of batteries used in electric mobility. Their solution is to re-use used lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles to create efficient and cost-effective energy storage systems for green electricity. These second-life battery energy storage solutions are modular and can be used in a wide variety of applications. For example, they can save surplus electricity from photovoltaic systems or, as part of a distributed system, can supply power throughout the day to DB maintenance depots and depots where trains are prepared for operations. That helps cut the cost of power peaks.  


The production and distribution of several hundred battery energy storage systems will start in 2023. The first pilot project went into operation at the EUREF campus in Berlin in July 2022. Additional battery energy storage systems are being installed at various DB locations, including the ICE maintenance depot in Leipzig, the digital test center in the Saxon town of Scheibenberg, and the Zorneding station in Bavaria. 

There are strict legal requirements for transporting and storing battery modules, such as labeling and temperature control during transport, which makes proper transport especially complex.  

This partnership offers a full-service package to solve this challenge. In 2023, the serial production of power storage devices, made from sorted car batteries will begin.

Battery Logistics: Transporting Batteries AND Driving Electric 

Advancing recycling management by transporting batteries is only one possibility to push electric mobility for a logistics service provider. There is one more obvious and very impactful one: Electrifying its own fleet, a recent announcement by DB Schenker for the biggest preorder of electric trucks in Europe’s history with 1500 Volta trucks. “Transporting batteries AND driving electric – a strong vision to drive sustainability holistically. 

Published: September 2022