Used electric vehicle battery packs are becoming increasingly popular for stationary energy storage projects.
It’s especially the case overseas, but now EVgo is bringing the tech to the US with a new fast-charging station powered by BMW i3 battery packs.
The company ran a pilot program for “second-life battery systems” at University of California San Diego (UCSD) and it has been successful since it has now deployed the system at an operational EVgo fast charging station located in Union City, CA at 3960 Smith Street.
Austin Brown, Executive Director of the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy, commented on the program:
The increased use of second-life battery technology is an exciting development, keeping fast charging of clean electric vehicles affordable and insulating the grid from spikes in electricity demand. Reusing batteries as backup for charging is a win-win for the economics and the environmental benefits of EVs.
The EVgo Union City site has two 50-kilowatt (kW) DC fast chargers in operation since last summer.
Now they have added two used 22 kWh BMW i3 battery packs into a single housing. They combined the packs with a 30 kW inverter to offer a 30 kW/44 kWh energy storage system capable of demand charge management.
Instead of demand spiking when both chargers are being used at the same time, the energy storage system kicks in and reduce the grid load and therefore the cost.
Cathy Zoi, CEO of EVgo, commented on the new station:
EVgo is pushing energy storage innovations forward in the EV space, as we deliver solutions for our customers that are good for the environment and the economics of fast charging. Our Union City station is just the start of EVgo’s work integrating advanced energy storage into our rapidly expanding fast charging network across the USA.
It’s the latest of many examples of automakers using electric vehicle battery packs in stationery energy storage projects.
BMW is also using vehicle battery packs for energy storage projects. They recently connected over 500 BMW i3 battery packs to the UK National Grid to create one of their largest energy storage projects to date.
Those are just a few examples. Renault is also using old Zoe battery packs for a home energy storage product and energy storage systems to power off-the-grid charging stations.