Electric vehicles are here to stay, and the subject of what to do with their battery packs once they are no longer suitable for the road remains a key concern among skeptics. A response to these concerns is currently being demonstrated in California by B2U Storage Solutions Inc, a Los Angeles-based startup that’s using second-hand EV batteries as energy storage systems that can support the grid.
B2U noted that its use of old EV batteries can significantly lower the cost of carbon-free energy storage. The company also noted that so far, it has 25 MWh of storage capacity tied to a solar energy site in Lancaster, California. The battery storage system, which is composed of 1,300 old electric car batteries, is believed to be the first of its kind.
The system is promising, with B2U CEO Freeman Hall stating that the batteries earned $1 million last year selling power into the wholesale energy market. Hall also estimates that the use of old EV batteries could reduce the costs of grid-scale battery installations by about 40%. So far, B2U’s system uses batteries from old Honda and Nissan electric vehicles, and some are up to eight years old.
“Second life and re-use helps the overall lifecycle be more energy efficient, given all the efforts that go into making that battery. So you’re getting maximum value out of it,” Hall told Reuters.
What’s especially admirable about B2U’s technology is that its solution doesn’t even require old EV batteries to be disassembled or reconfigured. The batteries themselves are connected into a climate-controlled storage pod sized like a shipping container, and they’re used with their existing casings. The batteries are managed through their existing onboard management software as well.
Electric vehicle leader Tesla is ramping the production of its energy storage devices like the Megapack, which is also designed to support the grid. In the company’s Q4 and FY 2022 Update Letter, Tesla noted that it was able to deploy 6.5 GWh of energy storage in 2022, the highest it has accomplished to date. But despite this, Tesla cannot usher in sustainability alone, so companies like B2U could provide a well-needed boost that could further accelerate the growth of the energy storage market.