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EnerDel tests grid storage plan

Automotive news reports on EnerDel's plans for reusing electric car batteries.

Automotive News

DETROIT--Lithium ion battery maker EnerDel Inc. and one of its backers is conducting trials in Japan aimed at giving electric-car batteries a second life providing storage on the power grid.

"That's the single fastest way to bring down the cost of cell production--not by beating up on suppliers, but finding a residual value so that the consumer only bears 20 to 30 percent of the cost of the battery," said Charles Gassenheimer, CEO of EnerDel's parent, Ener1 Inc., of New York.

EnerDel is partnering with the real estate arm of the Japanese trading house Itochu Corp. to develop and produce the battery systems for a residential smart-grid energy storage project to be installed in an apartment building near Tokyo.

After a battery pack has reached the end of its useful life in a vehicle, it would be used in a residential setting to store excess power--for example, electricity generated at night, to be used during peak-demand periods. That would split the lifetime cost of the batteries between the vehicle owner and the utility or other entity that reuses those batteries.

Itochu Property Development Ltd. began selling units in a five-story apartment building last month, with the first move-ins scheduled for early 2011. The real estate developer aims to include secondary-use lithium ion batteries for distributed grid storage in one-fifth of its future buildings. Itochu has been an investor in privately held Ener1 since 2003.

(Source: Automotive News)