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Renault and Powervault, the UK-based energy storage system manufacturer, announced a partnership to re-use electric vehicle (EV) batteries in home energy storage units. The saving to Powervault will make its storage system 30% cheaper, allowing its home storage system to become a financially viable solution to households across the UK.
Electric vehicle batteries are typically used until it depletes 20% of its capacity, after which it needs to be replaced, leaving a healthy portion of battery left for static battery applications, which are less demanding on the technology than the harsher requirements of transport applications. Typically an EVs battery can handle between 2,000 and 5,000 cycles or more depending on which supplier and what cell chemistry is used in the battery. BAIC models, for instance, using a LiFePO4 (Lithium Phosphate) based battery, guarantee 2000 cycles while the first Chevrolet Volt’s listed 5000 cycles. The Chevrolet Volt, however, electronically limits that only 65% of the battery is made available to the car to protect the battery, so to compare apples to apples, it would be better to compare throughput as appose to cycles.
Renault has already sold over 100,000 electric vehicles between its Zoe, Twizy, Kangoo and Fluence models, of which 25,000 are older than four years. Renault’s EV business model includes leasing its batteries to customers. Extending the usage of its batteries through a second-life application will provide Renault with a better return on investment and hopefully in future bring down the price of batteries faster.
According to the press release, Powervault will place 50 units on trail at existing customers who already have the company’s solar panels installed. The trial will explore the technical performance of second life batteries as well as customer reaction to home energy storage to help develop a roll-out strategy for the mass-market. The trial will be run with eligible customers of M&S Energy, plus social housing tenants and schools in the South East.
The relatively high cost of Home Storage Systems has until recently made little financial sense, with payback periods from savings overshooting the useful life of the system. Bringing system cost down to an acceptable payback of between five and seven years is seen as the holy grail for system manufacturers and homeowners.
Other EV manufacturers have already pursued business plans for second life batteries in Battery Home Systems with or without Solar. In June 2016 Nissan and Eaton installed an Energy Storage Solution in France, created from “second life” Nissan Leaf batteries. Nissan installed the Energy Storage Solution at WEBaxys, a data center. In the same month, BMW announced that it would follow Daimler, Nissan, and Tesla in creating second life energy storage systems for residential and commercial use. Second life battery systems would not have the same warranties as new systems.
Extending the life of EV batteries will also result in lower recycling related cost and overall optimize the use of the battery. Second Life applications and applications such as Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), where an EV owner sells power back to the grid, makes electric vehicles much more appealing and blows in the face of the technologies detractors.
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Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), also known as pure electric vehicles, has outsold plug-in hybrid electric vehicles since the start of the decade. Intuitively one would have thought that because of the high cost of battery cells at the onset of electric vehicles that Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV’s), such as the Toyota Prius, would have been the best first step to enter the market, which the company initially did until it abandoned the technology. Traditional auto manufacturers (Big Auto) in general did not take electric vehicles seriously, leaving the task to start-ups such as Tesla to develop solutions for the consumer. In the auto industry, it is easier for new entrants to enter with new technology than compete with Big Auto, churning out engines from plants which cost has already been recovered. Thus leaving Big Auto at a disadvantage as they have to invest in research and infrastructure, playing catch up with the disruption.
The big driver’s behind the performance of BEV’s has been:
It is expected that the trend for BEV’s should remain favorable as technology and cost improvements and more automakers plan to bring BEVs to market by the end of the decade. Analyzing the Top 10 EV markets, which represent over 90% of all EVs sold, however, show the opposite. Surprisingly, at closer inspection, PHEV’s are gaining on BEV’s in the majority of the Top 10 EV markets. In our study below we compare the proportion of BEV’s to PHEV’s in the Top 10 EV markets by plotting all EV’s sold from the start of the decade to EV’s sold since 2016, when most automakers changed their electric vehicle strategies. (For more detail follow the links to the different countries for a complete breakdown of sales per model and year in that country).
Chinese BEV’s, not always the most beautiful looking cars, have performed very well since the start of the decade and even more so over our test period from 2016. There are only three PHEV’s of any value worth mentioning in China, namely the BYD Qin, BYD Tang and SAIC Roewe 550, which combined sales accounted for around 18% of all EV’s sold since the turn of the decade. 2016 for the first time saw larger sedans taking over from the micro BEV’s, with the BYD e6, BAIC EU260, and Geely Emgrand entering the Top 4 list in the country. It is clear that with aggressive government support sales for BEV’s are ever increasing in the world’s Top market for EVs.
The home of Tesla and compliance vehicles, the USA, is the second largest market for electric vehicles. Stripping out Tesla, which accounts for nearly 40% of all BEV’s sold in the country will provide a completely different picture than above, where the BEV and PHEV ratio mirrors a presidential race. Most Big Auto brands are represented in the country, and when we say country, we can be forgiven to say California, where it’s Air Resource Board developed the Zero Emission Vehicle Program, targeting 15% of all vehicles to be ZEV’s by 2025. The ZEV Program supports the adoption of BEV’s by forcing automakers to sell a certain percentage of Zero Emission Vehicles. The ZEV program has been adopted by nine other states, which in total account for around 30% of all new vehicle registrations in the USA. The result is that even automakers with no EV strategy, including Fiat Chrysler, are selling what is called “compliance vehicles,” being converted plug-in variants of existing models, such as the Fiat 500e and Chrysler Pacifica. GM has also been labeled a compliance company by some, even though it introduced the first mass-market EV, the Chevrolet Bolt. The argument against GM is that it only released the Bolt it the ZEV States while it produces an uninspiring amount of 30,000 vehicles. On the other hand, GM is supporting the fight against clean air regulations and Tesla‘s direct sales model, effectively trying to halt the progress in the EV sector.
Japan, the fourth largest of the Top 10 EV markets, with China, is one of the few countries in the Top 10 list where BEV’s are outselling PHEV’s. In the case of Japan BEV’s contributed to around 75% of all EV’s sold. The country is however not the best example of expanding BEV sales. Only three brands contribute to over 90% of the sales through four models, namely the Nissan Leaf (EV), Mitsubishi Outlander (PHEV), Mitsubishi i-Miev (EV), and Toyota Prius (PHEV), which production was halted in 2015 for re-release in 2017. No great analytical deduction can be made other than a 40% increase in Nissan Leaf sales and 50% drop in Mitsubishi Outlander sales in 2016 resulted in the shift in favor of BEV’s.
The Netherlands is a big hope for the EV sector. The country targets an 100% electric fleet by 2025. However, the data don’t really show encouragement for zero emission vehicles in a country one would have guessed would be ideal for BEV’s due to the relatively short distances within its borders ( sorry if this does not sound very Euro-centric). BEV sales have stagnated since 2013 with the Nissan Leaf and Tesla making up most of the market. The EV’s sector is dominated by PHEV’s from Volkswagen, Audi (also VW), Volvo, BMW, and Mitsubishi. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a big hit, cornering nearly 25% of the EV market in the Netherlands. The country also has the highest international sales of the Mercedes C350e, Volkswagen Passat GTE, Volvo XC90 T8 and V60 PHEV.
In France, the home of Renault, Citroën, Bolloré, and Peugeot is number six on the list of the Top 10 EV Markets. Here, PHEV’s have gained slightly on BEV’s but are still only 20% of all EV’s sold, while EV’s represent 1.4% of all vehicles registered in 2016. The high percentage of BEV’s is a clear indication that French automakers were more progressive in accepting electric vehicles at the turn of the decade. France also has the highest number of commercial electric vehicles, just over 15% of all EV’s, with the Renault Kangoo being the delivery vehicle of choice. France also has one of the biggest range of EV models available to the consumer, with over 50 models recorded in its official sales data.
The UK market is much more excepting of PHEV’s with the trend increasing in the last year as more models are becoming available. The UK is another strong market for the Mitsubishi Outlander, where the Japanese vehicle represents nearly 30% of all EV’s sold. The world’s seventh biggest market for EV’s is also a great offset point for Germany. UK Sales for the BMW 330e is the highest in the world and sales for the Mercedes C350e is a couple of units short of the that of the Netherlands, which has the world’s most at 5,754 units. Publicly and reliable sales data for the UK is difficult to get hold of, with only the Top 5 models available up to December 2016, making a proper analysis difficult.
It would be surprising not to see PHEV’s beating BEV’s in the world’s 8th largest market for EV’s. Germany is home to BMW, Mercedes and VW, all brands that missed the boat on electric vehicles, now trying to catch a fast train on the back of PHEV’s. The three charts above clearly show how the release of plug-in hybrid variants of existing models since 2014 helped increase the sale of electric vehicles. Like in other European markets, the consumer is spoiled for choice in Germany.
Sweden, number nine on the list of the Top 10 EV Markets and the home of Volvo also shows a big affinity for PHEV’s. The Mitsubishi Outlander again has a significant portion of the EV market, with a 25% market share of all EV’s sold. There is a significant drop between the number eight position of the Top 10 EV Markets and that of the ninth, with a 50,000 unit drop from 80,000, leaving very little to write home about. None the less Sweden commands the fourth position on the list of EV’s as a percentage of total vehicle registrations, with 3.5% of all new vehicles registered to be an EV in 2016.
Canada in many ways mirrors the USA in trends, obviously at a much smaller scale. Just five models represent nearly 75% of all EV sales in the country, being the Chevrolet Volt, Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model X and the Smart ForTwo ED. The popularity of the Smart ForTwo makes it clear why Daimler decided to only sell electric versions of the micro car in the country.
Saving the best for last. Norway, the darling of the EV sector, number three on the list of Top 10 EV markets and number one the list of EV as a percentage of new vehicle registrations. The country is now officially a growth market, reaching the take-off point for the technology, and a clear example of our thesis that PHEV’s are gaining on BEV’s. EV sales in Norway as a percentage of the total fleet for the year 2016 was at a record 29.1%. The prospects for 2017 looks even better, as in January the percentage of EV’s registered achieved a record-breaking 37.5%. At the same time, PHEV’s outsold BEV’s for the first time. Looking deeper into the data and drilling down into the model mix two things are starting to emerge, namely:
We can expect this trend to continue until there is a wider choice of BEV models for the consumer and charging infrastructure expanded. Let’s hope that this trend is not just another way for Big Auto to hijack and derail the drive to zero emission vehicles. In the meantime we should be grateful, that although not hardcore, PHEV’s still introduce new drivers to the pleasure of driving in full electric mode, thereby making them want a BEV next time they buy.
Notes on the data used for the study:
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Top 5 EV News Week 32 2020 | Cadillac Lyriq unveiled. Yet another Chinese EV startup IPO. Three new EV models launched this week.
Top 5 EV News Week 31 2020 | Successful IPO for CHJ Auto, Kandi finally enters the USA, Mitsubishi pays the cost for failing EV strategy.
Top 5 EV News Week 30 2020 | Chengdu Auto Show, Hozon Neta IPO, VW invest in China, eVito Tourer for sale
A guide to investing in lithium, nickel, and cobalt used for electric vehicles as it spurs another gold rush as mining companies scramble for “modern” resources such as lithium (white petroleum as its now aptly called), nickel, and cobalt.
Lithium’s properties include being the lightest metal on the Periodic Table which has the highest electrochemical potential of all metals. Lithium is a soft silvery metal that reacts immediately with water and air. Some analyst predicts that current lithium demand would rise from 16,500 to between 120,000 to 250,000 tons by 2025 to feed the 14 battery mega factories that are developed, mainly in China. Rising lithium prices in the short term are not seen as a threat to the electric vehicle sector, as most large battery manufacturers indicated that they had fixed forward prices when we asked them to comment. Lithium prices are set through direct negotiations, as no terminal or spot market exists for the commodity. Investors should be careful not to get to fixated on sentiment and remind themselves that lithium batteries have been around for some time for use in cell phones and other handheld devices. Batteries for these devices, up till now, make up nearly 90% of demand supplied by the likes of Samsung and LG Chem. Lithium is not a scares commodity, and production capacity should increase over the longer term to keep up with the growth in demand due to electric vehicles. Lithium mining is also not an expensive venture. Lithium carbonate is extracted through an evaporation process from a brine found in salt flats. A risk with lithium is that the biggest deposits are concentrated in South America, especially Bolivia, where a handful of mining companies can control prices.
Commodities that shows a bigger opportunity on the upside include nickel, copper, and cobalt. Analyst comments remained bullish on these commodities at the recent African Mining Indaba, held in Cape Town, South Africa. Although Africa also has lithium deposits, its mostly found in rock and more expensive to extract. These deposits are also better suited for the technical applications such as ceramic and glass industries, than chemical applications such as batteries. Reuters (February the 14th 2017) reports that investors are scrambling for physical stocks in cobalt, a key ingredient for electric vehicle batteries. By adding cobalt to the chemistry of lithium batteries, car manufacturers can gain range. Cobalt is a buy product of copper, where investors are exposed to larger risk and cost if they invest in mining companies, such as Anglo American, Glencore or BHP Billiton to gain exposure in cobalt. Therefore the only direct investment is to buy and stockpile physical cobalt, a process which has a high barrier of entry, excluding smaller investors. A further concern is that most of the world’s cobalt comes from the Eastern Congo, a war-torn region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), close to Rwanda and Burundi, whose rebels also use the region as a springboard for causing trouble. The political environment in the DRC has deteriorated and will not improve soon as the country prepares for elections by the end the decade.
Investors trying to make a mint out of the electric vehicle boom should also keep a constant eye on how technology and battery chemistry change in this new and fast-moving sector, creating new opportunities for certain metals or bubbles for those becoming outdated. Let the history of investing in solar cells not repeat itself for battery investors.
Please leave a comment on your best or worst performing electric vehicle related stock pick below.
Picture – Source NY Times
The biggest electric vehicle-related news of the past week was the much-anticipated launch of the Tesla 100kWh battery pack. The battery upgrade allows for increased range and speed, making the Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode the fastest production car on the road. The Model S upgrade has a range of 315mi, which is about 20 miles further than a Model S 90D, and in the Model X SUV, you will be able to travel 289mi. But range, in my opinion, is becoming less of an issue as charging infrastructure is built out, and more people realize that range anxiety is mostly an old wolves tale perpetuated by petrol heads. What is more important though is how quickly you can refill the batteries to continue on your journey? Tesla is certainly also the leader in the charging wars at the moment. Other vehicle manufacturers trying to catch up with Tesla, such as VW identified 15-minute charge for 300 miles as a key deliverable, but according to the company’s CEO, Matthias Müller the target date for this challenging task which would require 800 V charging technology, is only in 2025.
When it comes to comparing cars, however, the only matrix that matters in the eye of the general public is acceleration. Measuring acceleration from 0 – 60mph over a quarter mile is also the most common matrix used to compare electric vehicles with gas guzzlers, which gave rise to a whole cottage industry of YouTube marketers posting videos of a Tesla against one or other supercar, such as the Lamborghini Aventador.
With the new Tesla S P100D in Ludicrous mode, the vehicle is said to accelerate from 0 – 60mph in just 2.5 seconds. It begs the question if it’s even morally legal for a family sedan to be able to drive at that kind of speeds. To put the figure of 2.5 seconds in context, the Audi R8 e-tron‘s electric top speed is only 3.9 seconds and in combustion mode, for lack of better word, it is only 3.2 seconds and the BMW i8 in 4.4 seconds. The Tesla S P100D even beats its own kind on paper, the Rimac Concept One, billed the fastest electric car accelerates from 0 – 62mph in 2.6 seconds.
So, be prepared for a whole lot of Youtube videos showing the Tesla Models S, seating five adults, two children, and luggage and costing around $147,000 beating anything from a Ferrari to a Porsche Spyder costing close to $1M. The YouTube video I would most like to see is the Tesla against Atieva’s converted Mercedes van, Edna.
Changing your driving style to improve the range of your Electric Vehicle and other battery management tips.
As promised in the blog “My first date with an Electric Vehicle (EV)” I will give a few pointers on efficient driving and battery management to increase range and battery life.
There is nothing more satisfying than leaving home with a range of 150 miles (240km) available, arriving at work 50 minutes later and 35km further with the available range still being the same as when you left. How is this possible you might ask? Well, it is a combination of the engineering and adapting your driving style to suit the battery system. On the engineering front, the reactive braking system charges the battery when you take your foot off the accelerator or when braking. It takes about a day to get used to this style of driving, but once you have mastered the art of anticipating the stop-start traffic you can add (or save) about 15% on the range available from your battery (figures based on my own experience). Not only do you charge your battery during reactive breaking, the engine also serves as a brake instead of you having to use the braking system. All in all the past week’s experience proved to me that an EV is the perfect vehicle for someone who spends a lot of time in traffic.
Changing one’s driving style to suit the battery system is slightly more difficult for most of us. EV’s certainly punishes aggressive driving styles, you can literarily see your battery being drained when accelerating, which is a pity. There is nothing more fun than leaving all the gas-guzzlers in your wake, especially on the pull-away at a robot. To really understand the power of an EV at a pull-away you just have to Google for YouTube clips “Tesla vs. …“ to see how a whole host of supercars struggles against an EV. My favorite is the 2016 Tesla Model X against the 2017 Bentley Bentayga. Make sure to watch the clip to the end. The BMW ConnectedDrive app certainly helps you to change your habits by informing you how efficiently you have completed each trip. My best was 82% and, dare I say it, my worst was 16%.
Here are some pointers on how changing your driving style will increase your range and improve battery life.
Although its sounds restrictive but in reality driving style has a bigger impact on a gas-guzzler from a financial perspective. Apart from the fuel cost, parts need to be serviced and replaced much more frequently than that of EV’s. In the end, it’s all just a mindset change of which you will reap the benefits of both the value of the battery and charging cost.
Wynand studied his MBA in San Francisco where he was exposed to the fields of Service Science, Gamification, and Renewables, which he combined to create wattEV2buy and the award winning web app Ekoguru. Wynand is an energy storage expert and has modeled, designed and presented various solutions utilizing lithium-ion and other electrochemical technologies. In his spare time, Wynand is the author of a children’s book series and started a new project called “Career 180”.
Charging your EV will remain the single most considered factor when owning or buying an EV. You can use wattev2buy.com to see what your EV’s mileage cost is depending on the electricity rate in your state.
There are 3 levels of charging your EV:
1. Level 1 – Which essentially is plugging your EV into the mains. Depending on the EV’s battery specifications it can take up to 24 hours to fully charge your EV. Apart from the electricity rate paid to your utility, there is now additional cost involved for Level 1 charging. To fully charge a Nissan Leaf with a battery capacity of 24kW and a 2.3kW charge rate would take over 10 hours (24/2.3). Charging would put your electric system at risk in the long term as it would constantly be under full strain.
2. Level 2 – Consist of a fast charger that can be bought extra with your EV. Different EV’s support different charging levels. The Leaf, for instance, has 3.3kW (or 6.6kW depending on country) onboard charger, the Ford Focus 6.6kW, and the Tesla Roadster 16.8kW. Again you will divide your battery capacity by the charging capacity to find the time to fully charge. Level 1 and 2 are ideal for city traveling and Level 2 charging stations are fairly cheap to install compared to DC fast charging stations.
3. DC fast Charging (DCQC)– This charging station infrastructure is developed to deal with range anxiety and to support the use of EV’s over long distances. The DCQC charging option could add up to $700 on the purchase price of your EV. Various EV makes have various standard’s and therefore various adaptors. The standards are:
· CHAdeMO, normally have a charge speed of between 40kW and 60kW. So charging a Nissan Leaf of 24kW/40kW = 36 minutes for a full charge.
· Combined Charging System (CCS), a new standard with little penetration but an ultra fast charging speed of above 300kW in theory. Operational they only provide 60kW currently.
· Tesla Supercharger is the company’s own improved DC fast charging standard with 120kW capability.
Map to Charging Stations
In the USA http://www.plugshare.com
Tesla DCQC network https://www.teslamotors.com/supercharger
Wynand studied his MBA in San Francisco where he was exposed to the fields of Service Science, Gamification and Renewables, which he combined to create wattEV2buy and the award winning web app Ekoguru. Wynand is a energy storage expert and has modeled, designed and presented various solutions utilizing lithium-ion and other electrochemical technologies. In his spare time Wynand is the author of a children’s book series and started a new project called “Career 180”.