The rise of electric vehicles: what can it lead to?

GUEST POST by Rhys Walker, cost estimator, Glenmore Investments

According to the latest predictions, the cost of electric vehicles is likely to be the same as their internal-combustion counterparts by 2022, while by 2040 this price is predicted to become even lower.

Skeptics would say that predictions should not be taken too seriously as they are always to some extent based on merely subjective opinions. This is absolutely right, just like is the fact that electric car sales continue to increase.

Statistics say that global sales increased by approximately 80% in 2015 compared to 2014, from 315,519 to 565,668, while by the end of 2016 the number of electric cars on the world’s roads is expected to exceed 2 million.

By 2040, for instance, electric vehicles would account for 35% of all new vehicle sales. What this implies is that even if some years or numbers in such sort of predictions may be inaccurate, the tendency of sales growth is definitely strong and cannot be doubted.
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Powin uses batteries to charge batteries

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Intel’s award-nominated electric vehicle charging station avoids demand charges thanks to Powin Energy’s battery technology. Pic: Powin Energy.

By Jason Deign

Systems integrator Powin Energy could gain an award today for a seemingly bizarre energy storage application: using batteries to charge batteries.

The Oregon, USA-based company is among those shortlisted for a 2016 Energy Storage North America Innovation Award for an electric vehicle fast-charging station at the headquarters of microprocessor firm Intel.

The installation, in Santa Clara, California, uses Powin Energy’s Battery Pack Operating System (bp-OS) to manage 30kw and 43kWh of lithium iron phosphate storage linked to 15 SolarWorld PV panels with a capacity of 4.1kW.

The use of batteries for electric vehicle fast charging avoids the need for standard three-phase 208/277/480V AC connections and helps avoid high demand charges, said EV4, the firm that designed and manages the station.

The technology also makes it possible to place charging stations in areas where three-phase AC is hard or costly to obtain.

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The second-life threat to non-lithium batteries

Second-hand batteries from electric vehicles such as buses could drastically cut the price of lithium-ion-based storage, research predicts. Photo: www.animam.photography

Second-hand batteries from electric vehicles such as buses could drastically cut the price of lithium-ion-based storage, research predicts. Photo: www.animam.photography

By Jason Deign

Lithium-ion’s potential to dominate the stationary storage battery sector may be stronger than previously thought, according to the implications of a new study.

Research published last week by the analyst firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) shows a glut of second-hand lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries from the auto industry could cut battery storage costs significantly.

By 2018, says Used EV batteries for stationary storage: second-life supply & costs, the cost of repurposing batteries for second-life applications could go down to as little as USD$49 per kWh.

This compares to a cost of roughly $300 per kWh for new batteries at the moment, and $160 for lowest-cost battery chemistries such as the zinc hybrid cathode technology being commercialised by Eos Energy Storage.

Given that BNEF expects around 10GWh of capacity from used electric vehicle batteries to be entering into the stationary storage market by 2025, second-life applications could deal a real blow to the prospects for non-Li-ion chemistries.
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Kreisel aims to put Tesla through its paces

Kreisel today launches a residential battery with improvements developed for the automotive sector. Pic: Kreisel.

Kreisel today launches a residential battery with improvements developed for the automotive sector. Pic: Kreisel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Jason Deign

Kreisel Electric has become the latest battery vendor to take on the Tesla Powerwall with the launch of a residential energy storage product today.

The Austrian industrial firm is looking to improve on Tesla’s trailblazing battery pack with a system that uses the same 18650-size lithium-ion cells, with a few significant manufacturing improvements.

Critically, Kreisel uses a laser system to solder connections to each cell in the battery. This is in contrast to traditional manufacturing processes where welding is employed.

The heat generated from the welding process damages cells before they are even used, said Christian Schlögl, head of business development. “With our laser technology we don’t destroy the cell,” he told Energy Storage Report.

The laser manufacturing process helps make sure all of the 8,000 or so cells in each battery have the same capacity and voltage once connected, so there is no need to balance them afterwards.
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Is this the company to beat Tesla?

Capacitor Sciences and its thin film capacitor technology could beat Tesla lithium-ion batteries on performance and cost around $100 per kWh.

Capacitor Sciences and its thin film capacitor technology could beat Tesla lithium-ion batteries on performance and cost around $100 per kWh. Photo credit: Capacitor Sciences

By Jason Deign

California start-up Capacitor Sciences claims to be developing an energy storage medium that could beat lithium-ion batteries on performance while costing around USD$100 per kWh.

The Menlo Park firm is hoping to use nano-structured crystalline thin films as the dielectric material for capacitors with up to 10 times the energy density and 100 times the power density of lithium ion batteries, according to a press release.

Capacitor Sciences says the use of thin film should overcome problems dogging other capacitor manufacturers, such as ill-fated EEStor, which used inorganic dielectric materials too brittle to withstand repeated charging cycles.

“No-one is really working on this class of materials,” said Wolfgang Mack, vice president of business development. “We’re using organic materials. They are waxy in nature. There’s no damage done during charge and discharge.”

Capacitor Sciences’s founder and chief technology officer, Dr Pavel Lazarev, was previously involved with Crysoptix, a liquid crystal display optical films maker, and nanomaterials business Optiva, which went out of business in 2005.
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Leclanché’s dual strategy for growth

The massive Leclanché battery order for Hecate Canada Storage II in Ontario is just one of the signs that its targeting of the stationary energy storage and electric vehicle markets is paying off. Photo Credit: De Lijn

The massive Leclanché battery order for Hecate Canada Storage II in Ontario is just one of the signs that its targeting of the stationary energy storage and electric vehicle markets is paying off. Photo Credit: De Lijn

By Jason Deign

The world’s oldest battery company isn’t clinging to the past. Leclanché, of Switzerland, is betting on its two newest lines of business for future growth, said Jacques Boppe, the company’s vice president of corporate development.

“Stationary storage is a growth business and transportation is a growth market,” said Boppe.

Both areas were given separate business unit status in January 2015 as part of a turnaround plan that saw Anil Srivastava, the former boss of Areva Renewables, taking the helm of the company in June 2014.

The turnaround followed financial troubles that resulted in Leclanché’s German subsidiary needing a €5m bailout from the Bruellan Corporate Governance Action Fund in 2012.

Boppe said Leclanché is expecting both business units to blossom while it continues to serve its legacy business, creating and distributing custom battery systems for specialist customers such as the Swiss Army, from a third unit.
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Tesla stock surges on storage speculation

Tesla stock surges on eve of domestic, commercial and utility-scale energy storage announcement. Experts warn of high valuation.

Tesla stock surges on eve of domestic, commercial and utility-scale energy storage announcement. Experts warn of high valuation.

UPDATE: Elon Musk has unveiled the price of Tesla’s ‘Powerwall’ consumer product will be USD$3,500, significantly below expectations.

By Jason Deign

Tesla Motors shares were changing hands for mind-boggling amounts ahead of a likely energy storage announcement as Energy Storage Report went to press this week.

The electric vehicle maker’s stock, which was given junk-bond rating less than a year ago, closed at just over USD$230 a share yesterday after having peaked at $237.06 on Monday.

Tesla’s valuation soared at the beginning of the week after Deutsche Bank issued a ‘buy’ recommendation relating to a battery storage announcement due tomorrow.

“Tesla’s announcement may be more significant than the market indicates,” said Deutsche Bank. “While stationary storage is still in its infancy, we believe that there are clear indications that significant growth lies ahead.”
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Ioxus targets auto sector with new appointment

Ioxus ultracapacitors are being targeted at the automotive sector. Nissan is one of the manufacturers currently incorporating ultracapacitors into its vehicles.

Ioxus ultracapacitors are being targeted at the automotive sector. Nissan is one manufacturer currently incorporating ultracapacitors into its vehicles. Photo credit: Animam.

The ultracapacitor company Ioxus last week reinforced its automotive sector focus by naming ex-General Motors (GM) executive Don Runkle the chairman of the board.

Runkle’s experience includes having been GM’s top engineering executive as vice president of the company’s North American Engineering Center.

He was previously chief engineer of Chevrolet, chief engineer of powertrain and racing at the Buick Division, director of advanced vehicle engineering and vice president of GM’s advanced engineering staff.
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