Three companies—Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), General Motors (NYSE: GM), and ABB (NYSE: ABB)—are going to test out whether used EV batteries can be repurposed to fit into existing electric grids.
According to GM (via the Charlotte Observer), lithium-ion batteries retain nearly 70 percent or more of their useful lifetime when they reach the limit of their application in EVs. Thus, GM and ABB had begun researching possibilities for such batteries some two years ago.
The companies showed off their findings in a demonstration in San Francisco last week. A unit that provided enough power for 3-5 households for almost two hours contained just five used Chevy Volt batteries working together. That’s quite a lot of unused power currently being wasted.
Duke Energy hopes to make use of such applications to ease the expected power fluctuations in solar PV systems, which can increase grid efficiency significantly. The company plans to install a five-battery system on its grid at an unidentified location to test out the viability of this possibility.
Such battery systems could not only provide emergency power when needed, but they might also be recharged during off-peak hours when electric rates are low.
This would allow them to provide this stored power during peak hours, thus slashing electricity usage rates.
All of this would add value to used batteries, making EV ownership costs come down quite a bit.
ABB was up 2.04% on Monday afternoon, and GM was up 4.15%.