Scaling Up EV Fast Charging Infrastructure with Battery Energy Storage Systems

The adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is increasing, and the need for reliable and efficient fast-charging infrastructure is becoming essential. Repurposed EV batteries are crucial to scaling up the EV fast charging network.

The Emergence of EV Fast Charging Stations: A Game Changer for EV Ownership

With EVs becoming increasingly popular, fast and efficient charging infrastructure is pivotal. One of the most significant developments in this field is the emergence of EV fast charging stations. These stations use high-power charging technology to charge an EV in as little as half an hour, making it a game changer for EV ownership.

Fast charging stations can charge an EV at a rate of up to 1,200 miles per hour, in contrast to standard Level 2 chargers, which typically charge 12 to 80 miles per hour (Level 2 vs. level 3 charging stations: Ev Connect 2021).

The benefits of fast charging stations for EV owners are many. For one, fast charging stations allow EV owners to travel long distances without spending hours at a charging station. This benefit dramatically reduces the "range anxiety" many EV owners experience. 

The current fast charging station network in North America is rapidly growing. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there were more than 8,265 fast charging stations in the United States and Canada as of January 2023 (The U.S. Department of Energy, 2023).

Installation of EV chargers is only possible if the transmission and distribution infrastructure has enough available power capacity. Upgrades can cost millions of dollars and take years to implement. 

Is our current grid infrastructure ready for this significant increase in electricity consumption? While the answer is not straightforward, a report from Stockton (2018)  notes that our current grid could struggle to distribute enough energy to all users once the adoption of EVs reaches 15% of vehicles on the road.  A report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (NEF) predicts that this 15% adoption figure will occur by 2035.

It is essential to consider the EV adoption rate locally, as some regions may see higher adoption rates than others. If utilities are prepared, neighbourhoods or entire cities can ensure enough energy is available to meet demand. However, a lack of preparation could lead to power outages and other issues.

A current fast-charge limitation is the need for robust access to high-voltage power lines. High-voltage power lines are not as widely available in highways and industrial areas where fast charging is critical for commercial EV depots to optimize their fleet usage.

The Growing Problem of Used EV Batteries: How to Dispose of Them

As EV adoption continues to rise, the number of used EV batteries requiring disposal will also increase. According to a study by McKinsey & Co, the global availability of repurposed batteries is projected to reach 15 GWh by 2025 and could reach between 112-227 GWh by 2030, depending on various factors (Zhu et al., 2021). With so many used batteries, it is crucial to find sustainable solutions for their disposal.

The challenge with the disposal of used EV batteries is multifaceted. Firstly, EV batteries contain hazardous materials such as lithium and heavy metals that can cause environmental damage if not handled correctly.

Furthermore, there is a lack of standardization in the regulations for the disposal of used EV batteries. Finally, the cost of EV battery disposal can be high, especially compared to the cost of disposing of traditional lead-acid batteries. 

A potential solution to this challenge is repurposing these batteries into a battery energy storage system. Battery energy storage systems are more cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and reliable than traditional energy storage solutions and can aid in expanding EV charging infrastructure. The projected global supply of these batteries makes them a key aspect in achieving a sustainable future with a higher adoption rate of EVs. Furthermore, by combining battery energy storage systems with renewable energy sources, companies can also work towards achieving their goals of reducing carbon emissions (Frenkel, 2022).

Scaling Up EV Fast Charging Infrastructure: A Sustainable Solution

In conclusion, the emergence of EV fast charging stations is a game-changer for EV ownership as it enables EV owners to travel long distances without spending hours at a charging station. However, as the number of EVs on the road, and thus, the number of used EV batteries, increases, the question of how to dispose of them becomes increasingly important. Repurposing used EV batteries for stationary energy storage extends the useful life of batteries. It also supports EV fast charging and helps scale up charging infrastructure. 

The global availability of repurposed batteries could reach 227 GWh by 2030, depending on various factors. This makes battery energy storage systems imperative in achieving a sustainable future with more EVs on the road while enabling a robust infrastructure to charge them.

Sources:

Boudway, I. (2022, September 20). More than half of US car sales will be electric by 2030. Bloomberg.com. Retrieved November 8, 2022, from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-20/more-than-half-of-us- car-sales-will-be-electric-by-2030?leadSource=uverify+wal 

Frenkel, D. (2022, August 17). Council post: 3 business benefits of second-life EV batteries as local storage. Forbes. Retrieved November 8, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2022/08/16/3- business-benefits-of-second-life-ev-batteries-as-local-storage/?sh=6192b0c13a91 

Stockton, N. (2018, February 3). Electric cars could destroy the electric grid-or fix it forever. Wired. Retrieved November 8, 2022, from https://www.wired.com/story/electric-cars-impact-electric-grid/ 

EV Connect. (2021, December 30). Level 2 vs. level 3 charging stations: Ev Connect. EV Connect. Retrieved January 19, 2023, from https://www.evconnect.com/blog/level-2-vs-level-3-charging-stations 

Zhu, J., Mathews, I., Ren, D., Li, W., Cogswell, D., Xing, B., Sedlatschek, T., Kantareddy, S. N. R., Yi, M., Gao, T., Xia, Y., Zhou, Q., Wierzbicki, T., & Bazant, M. Z. (2021, August 18). End-of-life or second-life options for retired electric vehicle batteries. Cell Reports Physical Science. Retrieved October 25, 2022, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666386421002484

Why should you consider Moment Energy’s energy storage systems?

Moment Energy is a cleantech startup creating clean, affordable, and reliable battery energy storage systems (BESS) by repurposing retired electric vehicle batteries. Its Flora BESS help utilities, microgrids and commercial customers improve grid reliability and replace fossil fuel consumption with renewable energy. Its Flora BESS provides flexibility and efficiency to fuel their customer's success, whether it's optimizing energy costs, powering EV charging stations, or integrating renewable sources.

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MIGUEL RESENDIZ

Miguel is the Marketing Manager at Moment Energy. He brings a comprehensive knowledge in advertising and marketing in a B2B setting. He has worked in several small and medium sized companies worldwide.

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Miguel Resendiz
Marketing Manager, Moment Energy
miguel@momentenergy.com

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