Second-life Battery in Mobile EV Charging Application for Rural Transportation (SMART)

A project funded by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Vehicle Technologies Office.

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Project Overview

Mobile charging stations (MCSs) play a critical role in removing the charging deserts in rural areas and alleviating range anxiety, as they can be transported to desired locations for electric vehicle (EV) charging with fewer concerns about power infrastructure and locational constraints. While rural America will potentially need many MCSs to eliminate charging deserts, the high investment cost due to large and new battery energy storage systems (BESS) and low utilization rate are barriers to adoption at a large scale. The requirement of large and new BESS in MCSs also burdens the U.S. battery supply chain.

Project Objectives

This project aims to address the urgent need to develop affordable MCSs that can be deployed in rural America on a large scale by utilizing second-life batteries (SLB) retired from EVs.

The project objectives are:

  1. Design, develop, demonstrate, and validate three types of cost-effective MCSs that utilize SLB to reduce the upfront investment cost by 35-50%.
  2. Create and demonstrate first-of-the-kind affordable, resilient, and sustainable rural EV infrastructure in a multi-state region (TN, OH, VA, KY, WV, KS, and TX) by seamlessly integrating the affordable MCSs into the existing charging network that is dominated by stationary charging stations, to support electrification in underserved rural communities.
  3. Collect and analyze the first-hand data of SLB-powered MCSs to assess the potential market and benefits.
  4. Create outreach, training, and education opportunities to help a broad range of EV stakeholders make informed decisions in adopting SLB-powered MCSs and develop economically viable MCS products.

Project Team

The project team consists of the major EV OEM (Nissan North America), two MCS suppliers (BoxPower and FreeWire), one second-life BESS diagnostic company (ReJoule), one battery material recycling company (Princeton NuEnergy), four academic institutions (TTU, UT-Austin, KU, and University of Memphis), PNNL, and two major DOE clean-city coalitions (ETCFC and VCC), three State Energy Offices (TDEC, KOEP, Texas SECO).

Proposed Technologies

This project will consider four types of MCSs in the U.S. market (shown above) that cover a wide spectrum of applications:
a) The BoxPower SolarContainer, which is a pre-wired microgrid solution with an integrated solar array, battery storage, and intelligent inverters. It is suitable for level-2 EV charging.
b) The Boost fast charging station from FreeWire, which uses 240-V AC and a boost 160-kWh battery pack to provide a fast charging rate up to 150 kW.
c) The Tesla PowerWall (or similar products) is a 13.5-kWh rechargeable lithium-ion battery stationary home energy storage product.
d) The EV ARC™ 2020 is a rapidly deployed, transportable – but permanent – EV charging solution featuring a 22-43 kWh battery pack and 4.3-kW solar array, and up to 4.3 kW EV charging power.

In this project, for the first three types of MCSs, the original battery system will be replaced with optimal sizes of SLB and advanced battery management systems to handle the heterogeneity within the SLB. The EV ARC 2020 will be integrated with an optimally sized microgrid system powered by SLB.

End of Project Goals

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