There has been a lot of progress in the electric vehicle industry over the past ten years. Ten years ago, the Nissan Leaf was one of the few mass production fully electric vehicles on the market. It had a 24 kWh battery pack that was good for about 140 km of range. To put that into perspective, the recently launched Mercedes Benz C Class plug-in hybrid has a bigger battery pack (25.4 kWh) than the first generation Nissan Leaf. The C Class has an all-electric range of about 100 km on the WLTP Cycle, which is a big improvement from early versions of plug-in hybrids that had limited all-electric range. Back then, plug-in hybrids had very small battery packs less than 8 kWh.
In those ten years, over 500,000 Nissan Leafs have been sold. The latest version of the Nissan Leaf e+ has a 62 kWh battery pack. There are now over 10 million electric vehicles on the roads worldwide. Improvements in the battery chemistry and associated battery management systems have ensured that battery packs in modern electric vehicles can last much longer than the car itself. Most OEMs now comfortably give 8-year warranties. Toyota has gone even further and is offering a 10-year/1 million km warranty. There has also been a lot of attention given to Tesla’s “Million Mile Battery.” Now that everyone knows that EV batteries don’t just die and need replacing every two years, there are going to be a lot of batteries around that still have a lot of life in them for other applications as the transition to electric mobility accelerates across the globe. This is where companies such as Relectrify come in to give electric vehicle batteries a second life, showing that electric mobility gives a boost to the circular economy.
Relectrify has just released its first commercial & industrial (C&I) storage product. It is a modular 120kWh system made from second-life EV batteries (cells that have been retired after use in electric vehicles). Relectrify released the ReVolve™ in response to wide customer demand for sustainable storage products integrating Relectrify’s life-extending BMS+Inverter technology. The ReVolve™ range is scalable and designed for installations in the 120kWh to 2MWh range. The initial product rollout is being supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). The ReVolve™ is now available for purchase for select customers in Australia and New Zealand. Relectrify’s technology in battery control results in up to 30% increased battery lifetime at 30% lower cost of electronics, according to its website. It does so through utilizing a cell-level battery management system (BMS) to generate a high-efficiency AC output directly from the battery pack, avoiding the need for costly standalone inverters.
The all in one solution comes in 30% to 50% lower than comparable products on the market and has an expected lifetime of 3000 cycles. “The storage market needs affordable battery storage, and we are thrilled to achieve this market-leading competitiveness with this product from the get-go,” said Valentin Muenzel, Relectrify’s CEO and co-founder. “With Relectrify’s cell-level technology seeing increasingly widespread use, we look forward to working with industry leaders to co-develop future products using second-life or new batteries, including for residential, commercial, industrial and grid applications.”
Each ReVolve™ 3-phase unit provides grid-compliant 400-480V AC output, with 120kWh capacity and 36kVA continuous power. Units can operate in both grid-connected and off-grid applications. At a roundtrip AC-to-AC efficiency of close to 90%, the ReVolve™ compares strongly against new industrial storage systems.
While residential and grid-support storage systems are increasingly prevalent, the C&I market remains underserved, with very few offerings on the market to meet growing customer demand. “In some ways, we didn’t want to develop this product, but the market really pulled it out of us,” said Muenzel. “Our pre-sales interest in the product has been very wide, from community battery storage applications, utilities looking for backup and outage support for weak rural networks, and peak shaving for EV charge installs, to construction and mining services firms interested in stand-alone power supply and genset diesel fuel reduction. Given our uniquely competitive price-point, some customers are running the numbers and seeing absolutely phenomenal payback periods with our product.” Affordable second life storage options will help drive adoption making, solar plus storage options more competitive and increase diesel abatement in the C&I sector where diesel generators are the predominant backup solution.
All images courtesy of Relectrify