A new life for old batteries

Is the future of used electric car batteries in grid energy storage systems like the Second Life Batteries Alliance project from BMW, Bosch and Vattenfall in Germany?

Is the future of used electric car batteries in grid energy storage systems like the Second Life Batteries Alliance project from BMW, Bosch and Vattenfall in Germany? Photo credit: BMW AG, München, Deutschland

A tie-up between BMW, Bosch and Vattenfall in Germany could help speed up halting moves to develop low-cost energy storage reserves from old car batteries.The three companies last month launched the Second Life Batteries Alliance “to form a large-scale energy storage system in Hamburg,” according to Bosch.

BMW will be supplying more than 100 second-hand lithium-ion batteries from its ActiveE and i3 electric vehicles, while Vattenfall has agreed to operate the Hamburg storage system for 10 years as part of an existing ‘virtual power plant’.

Bosch, which has developed integrated storage systems for the communities of Braderup and Kelsterbach in Germany, will be in charge of integrating the batteries and managing the setup.
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Energy storage news: 16.07.14

Sales of electric vehicles in China are set for huge growth, as 30% of all new government vehicles must be ‘new energy’ (electric, hybrid or fuel cell) by 2016. Photo: BMW Brilliance

Sales of electric vehicles in China are set for huge growth as 30% of all new government vehicles must be ‘new energy’ (electric, hybrid or fuel cell) by 2016. Photo: BMW Brilliance

A selection of energy storage news from our Twitter feed over the last week.

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18 things we learned at EVS27

The Nissan e-NV200 electric van, one of many electric vehicles on display at EVS27 in Barcelona, Spain. Photo credit: Marta Fernandez

The Nissan e-NV200 electric van, one of many electric vehicles on display at EVS27 in Barcelona, Spain, where it will be manufactured and used as an electric taxi. Photo credit: Animam for Energy Storage Report

Well, how was it for you? We certainly had a great time at the 27th International Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS27), and kudos to the organisers for putting on such an interesting and diverse event. Although we could only attend a fraction of the seminars, presentations and discussions, there is a whole bunch of stuff we learned there, some of which we’d like to share with you.

In addition to this report, we will also be delving deeper into a number of the many issues raised in later editions of Energy Storage Report. And as ever, if there’s anything you’d like to add to our observations, please leave a comment. Here then, in no particular order, are 18 key facts we gleaned at the show.
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BMW uses hydrogen fuel cells in forklifts

BMW Manufacturing has announced its use of hydrogen fuel cell-powered ‘materials handling units’, or forklift trucks to you and me. The additional usage of the hydrogen fuel cell system at its Spartenburg, South Carolina, USA, facility adds two new higher-capacity compressors, new storage tubes and distribution piping, and eight new hydrogen dispensers, the company reports.

The expanded system will deliver at least 400kg of hydrogen per day. BMW estimates that the expanded system will save 4.1 million kw/hours per year of power, up from 1.8 million for the initial hydrogen fuel cell system.

Three car companies, two very different stories on fuel cells

While Toyota and BMW have been racing full speed ahead to jointly develop both new lithium-ion batteries and a hydrogen fuel cell system, Mercedes-Benz is in wait-and-see mode, delaying plans for the launch of a mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell vehicle until at least 2017 – when the original plan was next year.

Mercedes says that changing market conditions have prompted the re-think, and that it will need a partner – as yet undecided – to enable them to shift a sufficient number of vehicles out of the showrooms and into the streets.

UK electric car sales set to jump 100%

2013 year will see the launch of 36 models of electric car worldwide. And in the UK, at least, sales of those EVs should be doubling to 6,000 vehicles, according to The Guardian.  The article cites lower priced new models of electric car such as the new UKP13,650 (USD 22,185 ) Renault Zoe, and the assured design of the new  BMW 3i for the projected rise.

2013 to be a great year for lithium-ion in EVs?

2013 is going to be an important year for Electric Vehicles (EVs) in general, and the lithium-ion batteries powering them, in particular. That’s the conclusion of a blog posting by Swagato Chakkravorty.

The article, which appeared in Energy And Capital, cites a report from Pike Research, that indicates that plug-in vehicle sales could reach up to 210,000 over the year, with a grand total of 36 new models being launched onto the market.

According to Chakkravorty, many major auto manufacturers will be innovating in the lithium-ion arena. The new Nissan Leaf will be equipped with lithium-ion batteries developed and manufactured at the company’s new cell-manufacturing facility in Tennessee, for example.

General Electric’s new Cadillac ELR is expected to share similarities with the Chevy Volt plug-in sedan, complete with Li-ion battery and a four-cylinder engine. And Ford is looking to invest USD135 million toward a number of models, including the Fusion Hybrid, and the Focus Electric

Moving to Europe, Volkswagen is investing USD9 billion in EVs next year, and BMW will finally bring out its first all-electric model – the i3 coupe – with a little luck. All of which is good news to anyone out there manufacturing lithium-ion batteries.