Nissan's lithium-ion batteries can be used in all sorts of applications when they're not being used to power an electric hatchback.

In what should come as no surprise, responsible vehicle manufacturers will look well beyond the first phase of a battery's life to lessen the long-term environmental impact of electric vehicles – and that's exactly what Nissan is doing.

Francisco Carranza, managing director of Nissan Energy Services, told CarAdvice in Madrid the Leaf's battery packs will "outlast the car by another 10 to 12 years".

It's a clear indication Nissan is thinking about where those batteries will end up once their vehicle service life comes to an end.

Carranza said Nissan monitors factors like charging patterns and cycles, and battery degradation for the more than 400,000 Leafs on the road in Europe.

"The battery second life is a key point," Carranza said. "Out of those 400,000 we have out there, we are getting a lot of information about the battery, which is more and more reassuring, and it is more and more clear that the batter life is longer than the life of the car."

The typical European service life of a car is between 10 and 13 years, according to Carranza.

"We will harvest the battery back out of the car with another life of 10 years past the car," he said.

"Part of our responsibility is to reduce our footprint, and that extends beyond just electric cars. We have a large solar installation on the roof of our logistics warehouse in Amsterdam, wind generation at our factory in the UK."

Nissan has rolled out numerous projects housing repurposed batteries – new or used from a Leaf – in consumer applications separate from the car itself.

One example is a three-megawatt storage system using 148 Leaf batteries at an Amsterdam football stadium. Nissan will also offer solar arrays and batteries for home use, and portable battery packs that can power something as simple as a camp site or laptop.

When asked about recycled materials in the manufacture of the vehicle itself, Carranza was equally as positive about what manufacturers must do, and said customers need to look ahead to change the way they live with their cars.

"More and more we see an increasing percentage of recycled materials in our cars," he said. "We see the cost of using those materials coming down, and to be credible we need to encourage this. We want our customers to change they way they live, not simply buy an electric car."

When he refers to changing the way consumers live, one example is viewing your electric vehicle as a power source that can be used to send power back into the grid, much like a home solar array can.

"We have calculated that owners can generate up to €1500 per year in Denmark for selling electricity back to the grid from their Leaf for example," Carranza said. "It's a complex ecosystem, but there is significant value by making the vehicle accessible to the grid."

"Our customers are expecting from us that we bring them solutions from beyond the car," Carranza said. It's why you'll see Nissan referring to and engaging in work with partner organisations around the world.

"This is much bigger than what just a car company can do. We need partners, and we need our customers to be empowered and to have the tools to have sustainability."