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Secondary Lives for EV batteries

CONTEXT

In 2016 the cost of EV batteries was $273/kWh[1] bringing the cost of a typical Tesla model S 75kWh battery to $20,475. While the estimated cost of a kWh today hovers around $200 and predictions tend toward $100 by 2020[2], battery packs still account for a large part of an EV’s total costs.

As EV sales grow to 55% of all new car sales by 2040[3], their sustainability is to be put into question. The reasons for the decommission of batteries in electric vehicles are many and include faulty signals in battery management systems, damaged car or insufficient capacity for an on-road application. However, being insufficient for a car does not mean going straight to the trash, used EV batteries have a huge secondary life potential.


GRID MANAGEMENT

The most obvious secondary lives for EV batteries lie in grid management applications and grid relief in particular. These can take the form of stationary local management and act as either back-up generator (off-grid) or a local grid relief generator. With peaks recorded during the day, secondary life generators would “pump” on the grid at night and supply a neighbourhood during the day and level the grid daily demand. Such units can also be designed as mobile generators for specific events or temporary situations. GreatWall Power has developed a 50kW/150kWh in a container allowing us to get a clear picture of such a use case for decommissioned EVs.[4]

Another key functionality for used batteries is storage of renewable energy such as that harvested from solar panels. This can be seen at Lamar Buffalo Ranch field campus in Yellowstone National Park where 208 used Toyota Camry Hybrid store the electricity from the local solar farm.[5]


JOHAN CRUIJFF ARENA: AN ILLUSTRATION OF GRID MANAGEMENT

The Johan Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam’s AJAX stadium is a perfect illustration of the above where 148 Nissan Leaf batteries power the stadium and its neighbouring. The new “old” battery system will in fact perform both renewable energy storage by harvesting electricity from the 2,400 solar panels installed on the stadium’s roof and will also operate grid management by storing grid energy at trough times.[6]




The arena’s generator will suffice the supply of events in the stadium and when not in activity will generate power to the local neighbourhood. This project is one among many secondary life projects as shown below.


SMALLER-SCALE APPLICATIONS

While the above applications are medium to large scale, other applications remain closer to the end user. Earlier this year, Toyota have announced that they will re-use their batteries and couple them to solar panels to power local 7-Eleven stores in Japan.

TotusPower, a project that is no longer active, had the vision of re-using car batteries for handheld 300Wh batteries to power phones, laptops or lamps for various outdoor applications.


ADDIONICS’ POINT OF VIEW.

Addionics is committed to responsible development at its earliest stage. Our current results show that our batteries will last longer before reaching secondary life but will also perform better and longer during their secondary life.

In addition to the better performance, our team had designed unique ways of maintaining optimal quality control throughout the use of our batteries and can therefore overcome many of the pains currently faced by the battery industry. Our models can predict the duration of first life and relevance of secondary life to a specific application.



[1] https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/for-dead-ev-batteries-reuse-comes-before-recycle/

[2] https://www.bee-ev.de/fileadmin/Publikationen/Studien/201604_Second_Life-Batterien_als_flexible_Speicher.pdf

[3] Bloomberg New Energy Finance

[4] https://reneweconomy.com.au/greatwall-power-completed-delivery-50kw-150kwh-retired-power-battery-storage-system-71229/

[5] http://greencarjournal.com/news/toyota-aims-at-reuse-of-ev-batteries/

[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4w6MIAQNQa8

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