Volkswagen has commissioned a pilot battery energy storage unit using batteries preproduction model ID.3 and ID.4 EVs.
It has installed a power storage container at the Zwickau plant in Germany. The PSC contains 96 reused MEB cell modules and will supply an average of 5.94kWh per module and a total of 570kWh. The PSCs will offer a reliable charging infrastructure for EVs in the future. Also, the automotive research unit of VW will help produce six MEB-based electric cars using the PSC.
PSCs are large storage units that will be useful in place of a transformer. They can provide a large amount of energy without causing a strain on the electricity grid. Also, they store energy temporarily, removing the costs incurred during standby. VW will commission a fast-charging park that will recharge PSC equipped with used EV batteries in Saxony, Germany.
Similar charging projects are connected to a powerful medium-voltage grid that operates daily, accompanied by a few hours of charging per day. When there is an increased charging demand by EV users, second-life batteries will come in to save the day. They believe charging parks will enable high-power charging in areas with a low maximum charging range, like residential areas.
Managing director for finance and controlling at Volkswagen Sachsen, Karen Kutzner, elaborated: ‘Reusing batteries is important for the future, and it’s closely linked to the acceleration in the trend toward electric mobility. With the power storage container, Volkswagen Sachsen is demonstrating a practical, cost-effective and useful case to enable cell modules at the end of their service lives to have a second life. This automotive power bank could be used wherever the capacity of the grid connection is too low, but there is demand for powerful charging infrastructure. Innovative ideas like this could provide renewed impetus for the critical buildup of fast-charging infrastructure.’
In June, VW led a research into the use of used batteries to produce more batteries. And as a part of its effort toward sustainability, VW will ensure the production and supply of recyclable materials from used EV batteries. It has a plant for mechanical recycling at Salzgitter that produces new cells from recycled materials.
Automakers and Used Batteries
Volkswagen is not the first to indulge a technology like this. Audi successfully repurposed EV batteries made by their company last year. The company is looking to expand its technology to other parts of Germany. Audi also opened a charging hub using lithium-ion batteries from dismantled test vehicles.
In 2018, Renault planned on creating a 60MWh storage system made from three of its batteries -Twizy, old Zoe, and Kangoo ZE batteries in France and Germany. In 2017, BMW built a storage farm in Leipzig, where up to 700 batteries from the i3 electric car are reused.
Why would vehicle manufacturers consider using used batteries? It is to create a suitable solution to utilize old batteries before they go off for recycling. Instead of sending them immediately to recycle, they can be used to produce other batteries or to create a better charging infrastructure.
Volkswagen may collaborate with Redwood materials to make more batteries from older electric vehicle batteries in the vehicle.
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