Energy storage installations for homes and businesses — involving battery technology — are on the rise in areas where extreme weather threatens the electric power grid, such as flood-prone Houston, wildfire-stricken California and hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.
A sustained power outage can lead to serious consequences, such as loss of income and even death. Because of climate change, the frequency of these extreme weather events and outages will climb.
Traditionally, buildings would rely upon gas-powered diesel generators during outages. These generators have their own problems and do not necessarily help the electric grid become more resilient.
With recent technological changes, could batteries become the new generators?
Tracking sharp growth in the past year
Small-scale, so-called behind-the-meter energy storage accounted for 60% of battery capacity in the United States during the first quarter of this year.
Deployments grew 138% in the past year, driven in part by families and business leaders who are seeking resilience against power disruptions in our increasingly volatile climate.
When properly designed, electric energy storage can not only provide additional grid resilience, it can further minimize greenhouse gas and local air emissions compared with the conventional gas generators.
Vulnerable regions look to storage for relief
The race for storage is on:
In California, solar installation companies have been reporting a steady uptick in solar-plus-storage orders this year. All of the state’s large electric investor-owned utilities are implementing Public Safety Power Shutoff programs, which would de-energize an electric line and intentionally cause a blackout. The goal is to prevent wildfires in high-wind conditions when power lines are at risk of igniting a wildfire. As a result, a growing number of Californians with the economic capability to invest in solar-plus-storage are weighing this option.
In Puerto Rico, installations of such systems doubled after Hurricane Maria in 2017. Battery suppliers such as Tesla had difficulty keeping up with orders. Before Maria, only about 5% of solar installations Tesla did came with storage; today 95% do, Energywire reported.
And in a rural New Hampshire town where residents and business owners struggle with outages after ice storms and heavy snowfalls, a local utility is proposing to back up the town with energy storage batteries that may also save ratepayers money over time.
Energy storage incentives align
Falling costs and new deployment incentives are fueling record investments in energy storage. Analysists expect such investments to soar by $620 billion globally over the next two decades.
In the U.S., 15 states so far have adopted policies that make it easier or more affordable to invest in energy storage.
Coinciding with these market changes is a realization in states such as South Carolina — which until recently lagged in clean energy investments — that people and businesses in coastal areas are increasingly vulnerable to storms.
With widespread power outages from hurricanes Florence and Irma fresh in mind, the state recently passed legislation supporting solar and energy projects.
As more states help expand the market, it is important to start thinking of energy storage as a key strategy to make buildings cleaner and more grid resilient. The technology will only become more important to prevent outages during extreme weather events.
At the Tesla Autonomy Event in April, Elon Musk said the Disruptors of Detroit were working on a new battery pack that would last a cool million miles, and said it would be available next year. Now Tesla battery research partner Jeff Dahn and his team have released a paper in which they describe this million-mile battery cell.
The new Li-ion battery cell features a next-generation “single crystal” NMC cathode and a new type of electrolyte. Dahn’s team has extensively tested the cells, and believe they could enable a battery pack that lasts over a million miles in an EV.
“Up to three years of testing has been completed for some of the tests. Tests include long-term charge-discharge cycling at 20, 40 and 55° C, long-term storage at 20, 40 and 55° C, and high precision coulometry at 40° C. Several different electrolytes are considered in this LiNi0.5Mn0.3Co0.2O2/graphite chemistry, including those that can promote fast charging. The reasons for cell performance degradation and impedance growth are examined using several methods. We conclude that cells of this type should be able to power an electric vehicle for over 1.6 million kilometers (1 million miles) and last at least two decades in grid energy storage.”
This is a huge advance – the new cells last two to three times longer than Tesla’s current cells – and if the company can bring the new technology into production in a reasonable timeframe, it could radically change the economics of EVs.
The paper notes the importance of long-lasting batteries for such vehicles as robotaxis, long-haul trucks and transit buses. In these applications, a battery’s ability to deliver a high number of charge/discharge cycles is critical, in contrast to the consumer vehicle market, in which maximum range is the most important feature (at least from a marketing standpoint).
The paper also mentions vehicle-to-grid applications, which could someday allow EV owners to earn revenue from their cars while they aren’t being driven (see the upcoming issue of Charged for a profile of Fermata Energy, a pioneer in this space).
Meanwhile, job listings on Tesla’s web site seem to confirm rumors that the company plans to start manufacturing its own battery cells (as reported by Electrek).
Samsung phones will have super fast graphene, rather than lithium, batteries within the next two years.
According to leaker Evan Blass, Samsung is developing graphene batteries for its smartphones — and we could see the first ones arrive as soon as next year.
The reason for the change is clear: exceptionally fast charging. Reportedly a full charge will now take just half an hour on a graphene battery, and despite recent leaps forward in fast-charging that would still be a significant improvement on the standard lithium ion battery.
The news is the latest update we’ve heard since Samsung reported in 2017 that they had developed a graphene ball that could charge 5x faster than standard phone batteries (reported byCnet). So why is it taking so long for the batteries to make it onto the market? Blass surmises that’s it’s simply a question of economics: “they still need to raise capacities while lowering costs.” Once that balance is found, this tech innovation could be a true game changer.
This news comes shortly after the release of Samsung’s latest flagship phablet, theGalaxy Note 10. It boasts an impressive 3500mAh battery, while it’s big brother — theGalaxy Note 10 Plus — has a whopping capacity of 4300mAh. But they’re not just about batteries. While both run on the powerful Exynos 9825 chip, specifications diverge significantly. The Galaxy note 10 has an 6.3-inch 1080 x 2280 resolution screen, with 8GB of RAM and a triple camera set-up; meanwhile, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus has an even larger 6.8-inch screen with a sharper 1440 x 3040 resolution, 12GB of RAM, and its triple rear camera is complemented with a Time of Flight 3D sensor.
With all the recent innovations in smartphone batteries, from huge capacities to Qi wireless charging, you might have thought there was nowhere else to innovate. But graphene technology could point towards an era of even faster charging. All that’s left to be seen is how pricey is it, and whether the capacity will be enough to satisfy demanding users.
The BEV offer in the U.S. is getting more attractive on both ends – affordable and high-end.
The third quarter of this year brings us several changes in pricing and availability of all-electric cars in the U.S.– those changes are mostly related toTeslamodels.
First of all, from July on, Tesla buyers can count on only $1,875 of federal tax credit (instead of $3,750). Secondly, Tesla lowered prices of 3/S/X and dropped some versions entirely. Other than that, we didn’t note any important changes, but as always in the car business – the real prices can be much lower than MSRP (like the Chevrolet Bolt EV, for example) or much higher than MSRP (when a particular model is production constrained).
Below we attached a comparison in the form of a table as well as charts, sorted by range and by price. Each position is a separate model (or version if there are differences in range or powertrain).
All-Electric Cars Compared By Range, U.S. – July 22, 2019
The range of BEVs varies from less than 60 miles to 370 miles (595 km), according to the EPA. Six Tesla versions are above 300 miles, in total 16 BEVs are above 200 miles.
All-Electric Cars Compared By Price, U.S. – July 22, 2019
Taking into consideration MSRP and deducting the federal tax credit, the base 200+ mile range electric cars start at around $30,000.
As many Chevrolet dealers often lower the Bolt EVprice by several thousand, you could get a 200+ mile BEV for less than $30,000.
*** This article appeared in TESLARATI and was re-posted in Fully Charged. We have Followed and Written a LOT about the ‘Coming EV Revolution’, about Advances in Charging Stations and Battery Technology. Most recently we posted an article ‘What If Green Energy Isn’t the Future?’
So maybe … just maybe, ‘Green Energy’ might NOT be able to meet the current Projected Carbon Fuel Replacement Schedule …. However, could the EV/ Hydrogen Fuel Cell Revolution replace forever the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)? (Hint: We Think So!)
Let Us Know What YOU think! Leave us your thoughts and comments. (below)
Headed by vehicles like the Tesla Model 3, the electric car revolution is showing no signs of stopping. The auto landscape today is very different from what it was years ago. Before, only Tesla and a few automakers were pushing electric cars, and the Model S was proving to the industry that EVs could be objectively better than internal combustion vehicles. Today, practically every automaker has plans to release electric cars. EV startup Bollinger Motors CEO Robert Bollinger summed it up best: “If you want to start a (car company) now, it has to be electric.”
CATALYSTS FOR A TRANSITION
A critical difference between then and now is that veteran automakers today are coming up with decent electric vehicles. No longer were EVs glorified golf carts and compliance cars; today’s electric vehicles are just as attractive, sleek, and powerful than their internal combustion peers. The auto industry has warmed up to electric vehicles as well. The Jaguar I-PACE has been collecting awards left and right since its release, and more recently, the Kia Niro EV was dubbed by Popular Mechanics as the recipient of its Car of the Year award.
A survey by CarGurus earlier this year revealed that 34% of car buyers are open to purchasing an electric car within the next ten years. A survey among young people in the UK last year revealed even more encouraging results, with 50% of respondents stating that they want electric cars. Amidst the disruption being brought about by the Tesla Model 3, which has all but dominated EV sales since production ramped last year, experienced automakers have responded in kind. Volkswagen recently debuted the ID.3, Audi has the e-tron, Hyundai has the Kona EV, and Mercedes-Benz has the EQC. Even Porsche, a low-volume car manufacturer, is attracting the high-end legacy market with the Taycan.
At this point, it appears that Tesla’s mission is going well underway. With the market now open to the idea of electric vehicles, there is an excellent chance that EV adoption will only increase from this point on.
BIG OIL FEELS A CHANGE IN THE WIND
Passenger cars are the No.1 source of demand for oil, and with the potential emergence of a transportation industry whose life and death does not rely on a gas pump, Big Oil could soon find itself on the defensive. Depending on how quickly the auto industry could shift entirely to sustainable transportation and how seriously governments handle issues like climate change, “peak oil” could happen a couple of decades or a few years from now. This could adversely affect investors in the oil industry, who might be at risk of losing their investments if peak oil happens faster than expected. JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade, described this potential scenario in a statement to CNN. “Look at what happened to the coal industry. You have to keep that in the back of your mind and be vigilant. It can turn very, very quickly,” the strategist said.
Paul Sankey of Mizuho Securities previously mentioned that a “Tesla Effect” is starting to be felt in the oil markets. According to the analyst, the Tesla Effect is an increasingly prevalent concept today which states that while the 20th century was driven by oil, the 21st century will be driven by electricity. This, together with the growing movements against climate change today, does not bode well for the oil industry. Adam White, an equity strategist at SunTrust Advisory, stated that investors might not be looking at the oil market with optimism anymore. “A lot of damage has already been done. People are jaded towards the industry,” he said.
An analysis from Barclays points to the world’s reliance on oil peaking somewhere between 2030 and 2035, provided that countries keep to their low-carbon goals. The investment bank also noted that peak oil could happen as early as 2025 if more aggressive climate change initiatives are adopted on a wider scale. This all but makes investments in oil stocks very risky in the 2020s, and this risk gets amplified if electric vehicles become more mainstream. Sverre Alvik of research firm DNV GL described this concern. “By 2030, oil shareholders will feel the impact. Electric vehicles are likely to cause light vehicle oil demand to plunge by nearly 50% by 2040,” Alvik said.
Some of today’s prolific oil producers appear to be making the necessary preparations for peak oil’s inevitable decline. Amidst pressures from shareholders, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and Total have expanded their operations into solar, wind, and electric charging, seemingly as a means to future-proof themselves. On the flipside, there are also big oil players that are ramping their activities. Earlier this month, financial titan Warren Buffet, who recently expressed his skepticism towards Elon Musk’s plan of introducing an insurance service for Tesla’s electric cars, committed $10 billion to Occidental Petroleum, one of the largest oil and gas exploration companies in the United States.
A POINT OF NO RETURN
The auto industry is now at a point where a real transition towards electrification is happening. Tesla’s efforts over the years, from the original Roadster to the Model 3, have played a huge part in this transition. Tesla, as well as its CEO, Elon Musk, have awakened the public’s eye about the viability of electric cars, while showing the auto industry that there is a demand for good, well-designed EVs. Nevertheless, Tesla still has a long journey ahead of it, as the company ramps its activities in the energy storage sector. If Tesla Energy mobilizes and becomes as disruptive as the company’s electric car division, it would deal yet another blow to the oil industry.
At this point, it is pertinent for veteran automakers that have released their own electric cars to ensure that they do not stop. Legacy car makers had long talked the talk when it came to electric vehicles, but today, it is time to walk the walk. German automaker Volkswagen could be a big player in this transition, as hinted at by the reception of its all-electric car, the ID.3. The ID.3 launch was successful, with Volkswagen getting 10,000 preorders for the vehicle in just 24 hours. The German carmaker should see this as writing on the wall: the demand for EVs is there.
The Volkswagen ID.3 is not as quick or sleek as a Tesla Model 3, nor does it last as long on the road between charges. But considering its price point and its badge, it does not have to be. Volkswagen states that the ID.3 will be priced below 40,000 euros ($45,000) in Germany, which should make it attainable for car buyers in the country. If done right, the ID.3 could be the second coming of the Beetle, ultimately becoming a car that redeems the company from the stigma of the Dieselgate scandal. Thus, it would be a great shame if Volkswagen drops the ball on the ID.3.
Tesla will likely remain a divisive company for years to come; Elon Musk, even more so. Nevertheless, Tesla and what it stands for is slowly becoming an idea, one that connotes hope for something better and cleaner for the future. And if history’s victories and tragedies are any indication, once something becomes an idea, an intangible concept, it becomes impossible to kill.
Watch and Learn More
Mobility Disruption | Tony Seba
Tony Seba, Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Author and Thought Leader, Lecturer at Stanford University, Keynote The reinvention and connection between infrastructure and mobility will fundamentally disrupt the clean transport model.
Building a better lithium-ion battery involves addressing a myriad of factors simultaneously, from keeping the battery’s cathode electrically and ionically conductive to making sure that the battery stays safe after many cycles.
In a new discovery, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have developed a newcathodecoatingby using an oxidative chemical vapor deposition technique that can help solve these and several other potential issues withlithium-ion batteriesall in one stroke.
“The coating we’ve discovered really hits five or six birds with one stone.” Khalil Amine, Argonne distinguished fellow andbatteryscientist.
In the research, Amine and his fellow researchers took particles of Argonne’s pioneering nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathode material and encapsulated them with a sulfur-containing polymer called PEDOT. This polymer provides the cathode a layer of protection from the battery’s electrolyte as the battery charges and discharges.
Unlike conventional coatings, which only protect the exterior surface of the micron-sized cathode particles and leave the interior vulnerable to cracking, the PEDOT coating had the ability to penetrate to the cathode particle’s interior, adding an additional layer of shielding.
In addition, although PEDOT prevents the chemical interaction between the battery and the electrolyte, it does allow for the necessary transport of lithium ions and electrons that the battery requires in order to function.
“This coating is essentially friendly to all of the processes and chemistry that makes the battery work and unfriendly to all of the potential reactions that would cause the battery to degrade or malfunction,” said Argonne chemist Guiliang Xu, the first author of the research.
The coating also largely prevents another reaction that causes the battery’s cathode to deactivate. In this reaction, thecathode materialconverts to another form called spinel. “The combination of almost no spinel formation with its other properties makes this coating a very exciting material,” Amine said.
The PEDOT material also demonstrated the ability to prevent oxygen release, a major factor for the degradation of NMC cathode materials athigh voltage. “This PEDOT coating was also found to be able to suppress oxygen release during charging, which leads to betterstructural stabilityand also improves safety,” Amine said.
Amine indicated that battery scientists could likely scale up the coating for use in nickel-rich NMC-containing batteries. “This polymer has been around for a while, but we were still surprised to see that it has all of the encouraging effects that it does,” he said.
With the coating applied, the researchers believe that the NMC-containing batteries could either run at higher voltages—thus increasing theirenergy output—or have longer lifetimes, or both.
To perform the research, the scientists relied on two DOE Office of Science User Facilities located at Argonne: the Advanced Photon Source (APS) and the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM). In situ high-energy X-ray diffraction measurements were taken at beamline 11-ID-C of the APS, and focused ion beam lithography andtransmission electron microscopywere performed at the CNM.
A paper based on the study, “Building ultra-conformal protective layers on both secondary and primary particles of layered lithium transition metal oxide cathodes,” appeared in the May 13 online edition ofNature Energy.
More information:Gui-Liang Xu et al, Building ultraconformal protective layers on both secondary and primary particles of layered lithium transition metal oxide cathodes,Nature Energy(2019).DOI: 10.1038/s41560-019-0387-1
Every year, Bloomberg NEF’s advanced transport team builds a bottom-up analysis of the cost of purchasing an electric vehicle and compares it to the cost of a combustion-engine vehicle of the same size. The crossover point — when electric vehicles become cheaper than their combustion-engine equivalents — will be a crucial moment for the EV market. All things being equal, upfront price parity makes a buyer’s decision to buy an EV a matter of taste, style or preference — but not, for much longer, a matter of cost.
Every year, that crossover point gets closer. In 2017, a Bloomberg NEF analysis forecast that the crossover point was in 2026, nine years out. In 2018, the crossover point was in 2024 — six years (or, as I described it then, two lease cycles) out.
The crossover point, per the latest analysis, is now 2022 for large vehicles in the European Union. For that, we can thank the incredible shrinking electric vehicle battery, which isn’t so much shrinking in size as it is shrinking — dramatically — in cost.
Analysts have for several years been using a sort of shorthand for describing an electric vehicle battery: half the car’s total cost. That figure, and that shorthand, has changed in just a few years. For a midsize U.S. car in 2015, the battery made up more than 57 percent of the total cost. This year, it’s 33 percent. By 2025, the battery will be only 20 percent of total vehicle cost.
My colleague Nikolas Soulopoulos, author of the research note, provided further insights. The first is that he expects electric vehicle chassis and body costs to drop slightly, while those same costs will rise modestly for combustion vehicles “as a result of light-weighting and other measures to help comply with emissions targets.”
Second, Soulopoulos expects bigger cost improvements in the electric powertrain, as “large-volume manufacturing is only now beginning for such parts.” By 2030, costs for motors, inverters and power electronics could be 25 to 30 percent lower than they are today.
The incredible shrinking electric vehicle battery doesn’t just mean cheaper electric passenger cars. It also means all sorts of other vehicles that weren’t previously practical to electrify now are — and beyond proof-of-concept scale, too.
Equipped with an in-house developed new charger, high-voltage converter and other devices, it offers excavation performance on par with the internal combustion model of the same power output, while achieving zero exhaust gas emissions and a dynamic reduction in noise levels. It is an environment and people-friendly machine. Komatsu expects a wider range of applications for this machine, including construction work near hospitals or schools or in residential areas, where contractors have conventionally paid special attention to exhaust gas and noise during work, as well as inside tunnels or buildings.
There are new electric vehicles at sea as well. Stena Line plans to install batteries in one of its car ferries between Sweden and Denmark, rolling out its battery systems incrementally. The first, a 1 megawatt-hour battery, will power the ship when it is maneuvering in port. The next, a 20 megawatt-hour battery, will provide power for port operations and “about 10 nautical miles” beyond. The final, a 50 megawatt-hour battery, will provide 50 nautical miles’ worth of power. “As both the size and cost of batteries decrease, battery operation becomes a very exciting alternative to traditional fuels for shipping, as emissions to air can be completely eliminated,” says Stena Line’s CEO Niclas Martensson.
Smaller EV batteries will soon be flying, too. Harbour Air Ltd., which operates 42 planes in 12 short routes in British Columbia, is adding an electric plane to its fleet. “The intent is to eventually convert the entire fleet,” says founder and CEO Greg McDougall, who offers a familiar rationale for his optimism: Ranges and capabilities “are changing very rapidly with the development of the battery technology.”
McDougall’s company is seeking approval for his plans ahead of today’s battery economics in anticipation of what’s coming. “We don’t want to be trying to get through the regulatory process after it becomes more economically viable; we want to do it now,” he says.
Nathaniel Bullard is a Bloomberg NEF energy analyst, covering technology and business model innovation and system-wide resource transitions.
BYD is theworld’s largest electric vehicle maker(membership), though its brand isn’t widely recognized outside of China. It started out as a battery maker about 25 years ago and transitioned into the car business a little more than a decade ago, making both conventional fossil fuel-powered cars and “new energy vehicles.”
The success of its first mass-produced hybrid caught the attention of legendary US investor Warren Buffett, who in 2008 bought a 10% stake in BYD for $230 million. That investment seems to be really paying off right now.
There is increased demand for electric vehicles in China, BYD says, and it expects continued growth. The company’s profits rose to about 750 million yuan ($111 million) in the first quarter, compared to 102 million yuan a year ago. BYD sold73,172 new energy vehicles(pdf) in the quarter, up 147% from the same period a year ago.
Including conventional fuel cars, it sold 73,172 vehicles in the quarter, up 5% from last year. The company is nowselling more electric vehiclesthan conventional cars.
“New energy vehicles are expected to continue to sell well in the second quarter, and new energy vehicle sales and revenues continue to maintain strong growth,” the company’s latest stock exchange filing reports.
According to Reuters, BYD expects to sell 655,000 cars in 2019, and will account for a substantial portion of the 1.6 million electric vehicle total that China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers predicts will be sold this year.
In stark contrast to this positive news for BYD, its US rival Tesla lost nearly $700 million in the first quarter. It attributed over $120 million in losses to a higher return rate than expected after itraised pricesfor the Model S and Model X.
In its quarterly earnings call, Tesla chief financial officer Zachary Kirkhorn described the first quarter as “one of the most complicated… in the history of the company.”
Beyond its faltering quarterly profits, Tesla also had some bad news in China to contend with recently.
Last week, a video that circulated widely on Chinese social media showed a parked Tesla Model Sabruptly caching firein Shanghai, where the company plans to build its first overseas factory. Earlier in the month, a parked Tesla in the USalso caught fire.
The two electric vehicle makers do have something in common, however. Tesla and BYD both plan to expand into each other’s markets. China is the world’s largest car market, and the US comes second.