Radhika

22nd June 2019

An Electric Future: Second life for EV Batteries

second life for ev batteries

- Predicting: End of life of battery packs
- Re-purposing: Second life for EV batteries

In sync with the government’s long-term goal of an all-electric future for mobility in India by 2030, policymakers are incentivizing electric vehicle adoption for all. With a roadmap that all two and three wheelers should go electric from 2023 and all commercial vehicles from 2026, an all-electric future is aggressively driving the dynamics of the Indian automotive market today.

Milestones of the Indian EV adoption story:

  • In a move to electrify public transportation, the government has set aside $140 million subsidies for two and three wheelers, buses and to develop a charging infrastructure
  • The cost of Li-ion batteries is down by 80% from $1000/kWh in 2010 to $200/kWh in 2018 and might reach $100/kWh by 2025-26
  • GST on electric vehicles may be reduced to 5%, further providing stimulus to the sector
  • 56,000 EVs were sold in FY 2018

These milestones highlight a significant shift in the near future of the electric mobility industry. What’s next?

The most expensive component of an electric car is its battery. Electric vehicles are powered by Lithium-ion batteries. Based on the chemistry, size, configuration and purpose lithium-ion batteries can perform between two to three years/300 to 500 charge cycles. These batteries have been used under extreme conditions and discharge at different rates, which are factors that influence a battery’s end of life. This can be accurately estimated only by a Battery Management System (BMS), which is the “brain” of the battery.

A BMS helps with data and knowledge of a battery’s current capacity, usage patterns, its state of health (SOH) and as a result, computes the end of life of the battery. ION’s intelligent analytics platform employs SOH algorithms to forecast the battery’s lifetime and overall performance based on past usage data.

Optimize: A Second Life for EV Batteries

Given the rate of adoption of electric vehicles, there will be an upsurge in the number of waste batteries in the coming years. The good news for battery pack manufacturers and OEMs is that once the battery packs can no longer perform optimally in an EV and actually reach the end of their life, they do not always become completely obsolete.

Battery packs can retain approx. 70-80% of their initial capacity and can be redesigned, re-purposed and optimized for a second life. The residual capacity of a battery can be used for consumer devices, telecom towers, stationary and mobile energy-storage applications that are less demanding in nature.

What is the advantage of the second life of EV batteries?

Re-purposed EV batteries can be used in off-grid, residential applications and distribution grid markets that help lower environmental impacts and improve the security of supply. These batteries improve material efficiency and add tremendous value for the automotive and energy sectors, and to the society.

By 2025, second-life batteries maybe 30 to 70 percent less expensive than new ones in these applications, tying up significantly less capital per cycle. (Source: McKinsey.com)

Some of the key benefits of re-purposing EV batteries are:

  • High safety level
  • Reduced resource consumption
  • Affordable
  • Scalable – multiple uses
  • Reliable performance
  • Sustainability

As per cycling requirements, there are multiple applications for the re-purposed batteries. One of the key utility is storing renewable energy for power back-up, thus providing better grid flexibility.

Commercial & Residential: Energy storage systems for residential and commercial buildings is a huge plus as it helps maximize cost benefits for the end-user. Lithium-ion batteries are a reliable power back up source, for both industrial as well as residential customers as they have the capability to provide back-up at multiple scales, as per the consumption requirement. Also, in this case, a battery is used for hardly 1% of the time, which means that the battery is also able to deliver multiple other services to the grid.

Off-grid: A grid connection is both expensive and many times unreliable. To realize the all-electric dream, it is imperative that every individual in the country has access to reliable, affordable energy that serves the basic requirements. Managing an investment infrastructure for off-grid would be a positive government push in the right direction. Batteries are enabling people in these isolated pockets of the country to harness energy storage and go from zero energy to completely reliable energy infrastructure.

The second life opportunity unlocks various possibilities and market potential for battery insurance
    and a new revenue stream for early EV adopters!

The lack of an adequate legal framework in place for the second life of Lithium-ion batteries is a major
    challenge in achieving the highest re-purposed battery potential

The global energy storage market may reach a capacity of more than 305 GWh by 2030, from just over 6.25 GWh last year, as estimated by Bloomberg New Energy Finance

ION Energy’s intelligent battery management platform is powered by advanced state of health (SOH) algorithms that can analyze historical data, to accurately predict the end of life of the battery. The algorithms are highly reconfigurable and compatible with over-the-air updates that enable OEMs and battery pack manufacturers to better foresee and plan the second life of their deployed assets.

Achieving the all-electric dream together means working on turning this waste into energy. Reusing batteries that have retained 70-80% of their initial energy will reduce upfront costs for electric vehicles, provide significant value to grid operators and end-users while benefiting the environment.

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