Making energy storage a key to cheaper plug-ins
GM and ABB provide new life for ‘dead’ Volt batteries
Since almost the inception of the Chevy Volt, GM has been working on ways of lengthening the value proposition of the expensive battery packs powering the Volt. This week GM and ABB Group demonstrated a unique way of cutting down plug-in costs, turning an old Volt battery into a backup storage system.
But can such an idea really reduce the cost of battery-powered cars?
After a Chevy Volt battery pack is no longer sufficient for automotive use, as much as 70 percent of its energy capacity is still available. Add the battery pack to an ABB inverter, and you have a storage system that could be used for back up power, or even managing peak loads on the electric grid.
Other automakers, such as Nissan, are also developing similar systems via 4R Energy.
Overall, it’s a very interesting development in the battery-powered space, especially if moved beyond back-up systems and into grid-related roles. Still, grid storage is a growing and major concern amongst utilities, and the competition for solutions in this space will be fierce. Today, lithium batteries are not the best solutions for such a purpose, however, if recycled batteries can develop into a legitimate business case, it could be a significant driver of cheaper battery powered vehicles.