American lithium-ion battery producer EnerDel joined forces today with the Japanese industrial trading giant ITOCHU Corporation to unveil a groundbreaking new project that showcases a real-world integration of the smart grid, electric vehicles and renewable energy technologies.
EnerDel is supplying the advanced battery systems at the heart of the project, marking the first time that Electric Vehicles, stationary grid storage, solar power and rapid re-charging infrastructure are combined in a real-world operating environment.
The project—located outside Tokyo in Tsukuba City, Japan, a major center for scientific R&D —involves a partnership between more than a dozen pioneering leaders from around the globe and demonstrates EnerDel’s expertise in the global clean tech marketplace.
It serves as an exhibition of a highly advanced direct current rapid recharge system, as well as a secondary use model for fixed in-vehicle batteries. The project is designed to showcase the valuable afterlife batteries can have in stationary grid applications once they are cycled through their useful vehicular lifespan, where operating parameters are much less taxing.
A viable battery aftermarket would significantly lower costs for both automotive and utility buyers. "The integration of rapid charging, smart grid and electric vehicles is a crucial step in the transition to clean, efficient, low-carbon energy and transportation systems, and something that countries all over the world are moving toward," said Charles Gassenheimer, Chairman and CEO of EnerDel parent company Ener1, Inc. (Nasdaq: HEV).
"This project also demonstrates how critical a secondary-use strategy is in unlocking economic value that becomes a key driver for the Electric Car battery industry."
"EnerDel’s top quality battery systems provide a robust platform for rapid-recharge," said Murase Hiroaki, Deputy Manager Battery Business Unit of ITOCHU Corporation. "Partnering with industry leaders like EnerDel, Family Mart and Mazda is an important step forward in the widespread adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy."
In a ceremony to showcase the project today, leaders demonstrated an electric drivetrain involving a set of Mazda vehicles specially converted to adopt EnerDel batteries and drivetrain components from EnerDel automotive partner and customer, electric car maker THINK.
The compact 5-door Mazda Demio, sold outside of Japan as the Mazda2, is based at a Family Mart convenience store for car-sharing equipped with solar power generating systems, high-speed recharging stations, a billing mechanism using a non-contract IC-imbedded smart card, terminals for remote battery monitoring of charging, discharging, wear data, and a stationary battery array used to move energy to and from the electric grid.
The unique combination of on-site battery storage with rapid re-charging allows for the use of direct current throughout the system, sharply reducing the amount of time needed to charge a vehicle. It also allows drivers to recharge the car without drawing power from the grid, a significant advantage at peak load times.
The project uses a 24-kilowatt-hour fixed storage EnerDel battery pack, originally designed for the THINK City electric vehicle, to demonstrate that automotive systems can be used in stationary applications without major modification.
Ener1 develops and manufactures compact, high performance lithium-ion batteries to power the next generation of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles. The publicly traded company (Nasdaq: HEV) is led by an experienced team of engineers and energy system experts at its EnerDel subsidiary located in Indiana.
In addition to the automobile market, applications for Ener1 lithium-ion battery technology include the military, grid storage and other growing markets. Ener1 also develops commercial fuel cell products through its EnerFuel subsidiary and nanotechnology-based materials and manufacturing processes for batteries and other applications through its NanoEner subsidiary.