Many of the advocates of the electric car revolution have discussed about repackaging the battery packs for cars to become energy storage devices once their useful run as car batteries run out. This idea was best shown when ABB and General Motors have been undertaking a project of a similar nature with five (5) Chevy Volts.
The Volt battery back is able to hold sixteen kilowatt hours when brand new and the prototypes from the partnership would be able to carry ten kilowatt hours per pack. The program would have five battery packs placed together in an array that would be able to provide two hours of electricity for three to five houses of average size. The demonstration showcased a lighting and audiovisual equipment in a structure in San Francisco.
The batteries were not even challenged as each pack was able to provide up to 111 kilowatts of power but the five batteries were only able to provide 2.5 kilowatts. This is significant as low power demand for these kinds of batteries would extend their service life.
The concept behind the prototype is to provide for a market for used batteries as well as allowing for resale value that would lower cost of ownership. It would also provide for a distributed storage system that would provide backups for areas with low energy supply or have a storage system for intermittent energy sources such as solar panels and wind machines until its delivery for use in the power grid.
The concept can also be quite useful in an area with a high population of electric cars as the electricity required to charge vehicles arrives at a steady stream and be stored in the battery array available to be tapped when needed. In this set up, the battery pack would work like a tank on a toilet, readily available for a quick supply.
The package set up also provides an inverter that would convert direct current from a battery to an alternating current, usable as electricity from an electric socket. The requirement to be allowed into the program, according to Pablo Valencia, Senior Manager for Battery Life Cycle Management at GM would be the battery pack is no longer suitable for a car, where only thirty percent or less of its life has been used.
He added, “This leaves a tremendous amount of life that can be applied to other applications.”