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Discussion Starter #1

Our EVs are getting cleaner by the day!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I live just outside COS in rural areas served by a CoOp utility, they rely on Tri-State generation for 100% of their power. Try-State is closing it's last coal plant in 2022, and expects to be 100% renewable by 2030. It is all driven by the saving renewables offer versus coal and gas fired plants.
 

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I think this is a first step, but ultimately, we would be better served transitioning to disbursed, small-scale local power generation and micro grids.
 

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I think this is a first step, but ultimately, we would be better served transitioning to disbursed, small-scale local power generation and micro grids.
Agreed.

CSU reached out to our local EV club to establish lines of communication with the user community. A conversation I had with a CSU rep regarding EV rate plans (they are looking for input and hope to roll out TOU plans with EV particularly a focus) led to a discussion in general about EV impact on the grid. CSU is a muni owned utility, so like my CoOp, its mission is to save ratepayers money, not accumulate profits.

My comments were, demand for EV charging impacts the utility in several ways. First, without TOU, people get home at 5PM, plugin during the absolute peak demand period, then finish right when off-peak hours kick in. So, TOU would save ratepayers by deferring charging to off-peak when they don't have to buy or produce expensive power. Second is demand spikes even in off-peak periods caused by L3 which can be costly for the utility and thus the EVSE owner. Studies suggest L3 will never be profitable due to demand charges.

For a comprehensive plan to shift EV charging impact, I suggested in addition to TOU,
1. Offer employers incentives to install EVSE thus shifting a portion of charging to off-peak mid-day. Even L1 could be effective in our community where commutes tend to be shorter.
2. Offer incentives to EV owners to install smart EVSE or separate EV metering that the utility could remotely manage, cutting off charging when occasional spikes occur (demand response).
3. To address demand impact on L3, distributed storage. When L3 demand strikes, use distributed storage to avoid the utility having to purchase or generate expensive power to fill the need.

The added benefit of distributed storage is it effectively creates micro-grids that are capable of functioning when upstream sources are temporarily cut off, meaning better service levels.

Finally, I suggested she work with her senior engineers to get familiar with V2G. V2G has the potential to offload distributed storage to private sources (EVs).

Her ears perked up at these topics, she was simply not aware of many of these topics and commented that EV sure seem like a revolutionary tech opportunity for utilities who take advantage of the new possibilities. I am sure the senior engineers at the utility are familiar with a lot of these topics, she is mid-level and consumer focussed. But, her familiarity with the possibilities and connection to EV owners could help them craft comprehensive programs that benefit all consumers.

My son just installed a 10kW rooftop system, he is in CSU territory. Apparently, their net meter plan is kind of unique. Apparently, every excess kW sent to the utility is banked, then consumed kW are deducted from the banked credits. They effectively pay solar owners at the same rate that they consume. At the end of the year, they have the option to true up, with excess credits available for cash, or better yet, credits to offset their water, gas and sewer utility charges. Unlike some net meter plans I have heard of that buy excess power at low rates, CSU seems to have a really favorable plan for solar owners.
 

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Agreed.

CSU reached out to our local EV club to establish lines of communication with the user community. A conversation I had with a CSU rep regarding EV rate plans (they are looking for input and hope to roll out TOU plans with EV particularly a focus) led to a discussion in general about EV impact on the grid. CSU is a muni owned utility, so like my CoOp, its mission is to save ratepayers money, not accumulate profits.

My comments were, demand for EV charging impacts the utility in several ways. First, without TOU, people get home at 5PM, plugin during the absolute peak demand period, then finish right when off-peak hours kick in. So, TOU would save ratepayers by deferring charging to off-peak when they don't have to buy or produce expensive power. Second is demand spikes even in off-peak periods caused by L3 which can be costly for the utility and thus the EVSE owner. Studies suggest L3 will never be profitable due to demand charges.

For a comprehensive plan to shift EV charging impact, I suggested in addition to TOU,
1. Offer employers incentives to install EVSE thus shifting a portion of charging to off-peak mid-day. Even L1 could be effective in our community where commutes tend to be shorter.
2. Offer incentives to EV owners to install smart EVSE or separate EV metering that the utility could remotely manage, cutting off charging when occasional spikes occur (demand response).
3. To address demand impact on L3, distributed storage. When L3 demand strikes, use distributed storage to avoid the utility having to purchase or generate expensive power to fill the need.

The added benefit of distributed storage is it effectively creates micro-grids that are capable of functioning when upstream sources are temporarily cut off, meaning better service levels.

Finally, I suggested she work with her senior engineers to get familiar with V2G. V2G has the potential to offload distributed storage to private sources (EVs).

Her ears perked up at these topics, she was simply not aware of many of these topics and commented that EV sure seem like a revolutionary tech opportunity for utilities who take advantage of the new possibilities. I am sure the senior engineers at the utility are familiar with a lot of these topics, she is mid-level and consumer focussed. But, her familiarity with the possibilities and connection to EV owners could help them craft comprehensive programs that benefit all consumers.

My son just installed a 10kW rooftop system, he is in CSU territory. Apparently, their net meter plan is kind of unique. Apparently, every excess kW sent to the utility is banked, then consumed kW are deducted from the banked credits. They effectively pay solar owners at the same rate that they consume. At the end of the year, they have the option to true up, with excess credits available for cash, or better yet, credits to offset their water, gas and sewer utility charges. Unlike some net meter plans I have heard of that buy excess power at low rates, CSU seems to have a really favorable plan for solar owners.
Those are all good, and the one thing I would add on is the possibility of grid-tied energy storage to offset the demand costs of DC fast charging. While I appreciate Tesla's efforts, I'm not a huge fan of their Powerpack model. I would much rather see those lithium batteries designed for EV use to be used in EVs rather than a grid-tied energy storage with very different needs.

Recargo installed their Prunedale charging site using four Tesla Powerpacks. I'm not sure whether they are available for comment, but it would be interesting to see how much they are paying in demand charges compared to other charging providers who are not using grid-tied energy storage to offset peak demand charges.


If we are to use lithium packs for offsetting peak demand charges at public DC fast chargers, I'm much more in support of reusing second-life EV batteries. EVgo experimented with this using second-life batteries from BMW i3's at their Union City charging site. Again, I'm not sure whether EVgo would be willing to speak with CSU about their operational costs and savings (comparing Union City to other, non-grid-tie battery sites).


Ultimately, though, I think a better option for grid-tie energy storage to offset demand charges would be flow batteries. These cost significantly less than lithium with longer life while providing most of the benefits. I think the biggest trade off is in size and weight, which is not really a major problem for a stationary site.


There are other technologies that should be considered, but we'll see if people actually push for them. Technologies such as compressed air energy storage (CAES) and even good ol' fashioned steam are very good methods for storing massive amounts of excess renewable energy that can be retrieved quickly.

A fun study would be to see the Coulombic efficiency equivalency of these technologies in comparison to lithium and other battery technologies. In comparison with upfront costs and lifecycles, it could give energy companies a much better understanding of which technologies provide the best ROI.
 

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Those are all good, and the one thing I would add on is the possibility of grid-tied energy storage to offset the demand costs of DC fast charging. While I appreciate Tesla's efforts, I'm not a huge fan of their Powerpack model. I would much rather see those lithium batteries designed for EV use to be used in EVs rather than a grid-tied energy storage with very different needs.

Recargo installed their Prunedale charging site using four Tesla Powerpacks. I'm not sure whether they are available for comment, but it would be interesting to see how much they are paying in demand charges compared to other charging providers who are not using grid-tied energy storage to offset peak demand charges.


If we are to use lithium packs for offsetting peak demand charges at public DC fast chargers, I'm much more in support of reusing second-life EV batteries. EVgo experimented with this using second-life batteries from BMW i3's at their Union City charging site. Again, I'm not sure whether EVgo would be willing to speak with CSU about their operational costs and savings (comparing Union City to other, non-grid-tie battery sites).


Ultimately, though, I think a better option for grid-tie energy storage to offset demand charges would be flow batteries. These cost significantly less than lithium with longer life while providing most of the benefits. I think the biggest trade off is in size and weight, which is not really a major problem for a stationary site.


There are other technologies that should be considered, but we'll see if people actually push for them. Technologies such as compressed air energy storage (CAES) and even good ol' fashioned steam are very good methods for storing massive amounts of excess renewable energy that can be retrieved quickly.

A fun study would be to see the Coulombic efficiency equivalency of these technologies in comparison to lithium and other battery technologies. In comparison with upfront costs and lifecycles, it could give energy companies a much better understanding of which technologies provide the best ROI.
The batteries that are designed for EV use are used for EV's and the batteries designed for daily cycle energy storage are used as Powerwalls. They aren't the same batteries.
 

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The batteries that are designed for EV use are used for EV's and the batteries designed for daily cycle energy storage are used as Powerwalls. They aren't the same batteries.
IIRC, Tesla puts the same batteries in their Powerwalls as they do EVs. My Powerwalls were made at the Gigafactory in Nevada, as are their EV packs.
 

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IIRC, Tesla puts the same batteries in their Powerwalls as they do EVs. My Powerwalls were made at the Gigafactory in Nevada, as are their EV packs.
I believe you are correct. My Powerwalls are also from the Gigagactory in Nevada. However, I have not seen any tear down of a Powerwall to confirm the same cells are used. If anyone has a link to a tear down with technical analysis of the cells, please let us know. The charge and discharge requirements for a BEV and power storage battery are quite different.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If we are to use lithium packs for offsetting peak demand charges at public DC fast chargers, I'm much more in support of reusing second-life EV batteries.
Granted, but how many second-life EV batteries are available? Sure, supply will grow with time, but do we wait till people start retiring EVs to re-use batteries to offset demand charges?

In the big picture, utilities see a storm brewing. The faster people adopt EVs, the farther behind they get WRT keeping rates affordable. Do nothing and peak demand exasperated by EV charging in peak periods, and surges from L3 charging at any time will force them to build more plants or pay dearly for power from outside sources, and pass those costs on to ratepayers.

As EV owners, we obviously prefer affordable power rates, be it wholesale or retail. So any technology that helps utilities flatten the demand curve are helpful. If that means building more LiIon cells for PowerPacks or other distributed storage solutions, ok. Sure, there may be more efficient forms of energy storage, but batteries seem to be well proven. When enough second-life EV batteries are available to supply these storage needs, I'm sure they will use them to reduce costs. Similarly, if more efficient storage solutions prove to be up to the task, they will undoubtedly be embraced as cost cutting measures.

Interestingly, I ran across something a few months ago where VW joined forces in Germany with an EVSE equipment company to build fixed DC chargers with local storage (can't seem to locate the source now). They claim to be able to use standard "low powered" grid connections and\or solar and wind power sources to charge the batteries, then discharge to EVs at 150kW from the battery packs. They claim it is significantly less costly to bring online than conventional DC chargers with high powered transformers and grid connections. And the lack of, or minimal demand charges with such a solution make it reasonably profitable. Apparently, this grew out of anther program VW was engaged in for mobile DCFC.

And then there is this article about how EA is sourcing Tesla PowerPacks at a growing number of sites in order to shave demand charges. Or this article which McKinsey goes into the theoretical economics of local storage backed DC charging at a high level.

I haven't seen the numbers behind these solutions, but there are plenty of sources that claim DCFC will never be a profitable business as long as steep demand charges play a part. It is logical that battery backed DC charging is a worthwhile offset to demand charges if this much energy is going into these solutions. And after all, volume battery production being a key to lowering EV sticker prices, these other uses of batteries could help accelerate the dropping cost of EV batteries.

My hope is that if the VW idea of low-power grid-fed battery-backed DCFC at an installation cost that is significantly lower than conventional DCFC is viable, that we can economically achieve ubiquitous DC charging and take the pressure off of building longer range, higher priced EVs. You may recall we bantered these ideas a few days ago when discussing the key to EV adoption being 500 mile range EVs. This is where I was coming from with the idea of ubiquitous DC charging and being able to regain 150 miles of range in a 15 minute restroom\stretch stop, and doing so every two hours. With a 2 hour/15 minute cadence, a 250-300 mile range EV could drive all day and never stop for more than 15 minutes, provided it could charge at 150kW. And that would be a real game changer for a lot of naysayers.
 

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Granted, but how many second-life EV batteries are available? Sure, supply will grow with time, but do we wait till people start retiring EVs to re-use batteries to offset demand charges?

In the big picture, utilities see a storm brewing. The faster people adopt EVs, the farther behind they get WRT keeping rates affordable. Do nothing and peak demand exasperated by EV charging in peak periods, and surges from L3 charging at any time will force them to build more plants or pay dearly for power from outside sources, and pass those costs on to ratepayers.

As EV owners, we obviously prefer affordable power rates, be it wholesale or retail. So any technology that helps utilities flatten the demand curve are helpful. If that means building more LiIon cells for PowerPacks or other distributed storage solutions, ok. Sure, there may be more efficient forms of energy storage, but batteries seem to be well proven. When enough second-life EV batteries are available to supply these storage needs, I'm sure they will use them to reduce costs. Similarly, if more efficient storage solutions prove to be up to the task, they will undoubtedly be embraced as cost cutting measures.

Interestingly, I ran across something a few months ago where VW joined forces in Germany with an EVSE equipment company to build fixed DC chargers with local storage (can't seem to locate the source now). They claim to be able to use standard "low powered" grid connections and\or solar and wind power sources to charge the batteries, then discharge to EVs at 150kW from the battery packs. They claim it is significantly less costly to bring online than conventional DC chargers with high powered transformers and grid connections. And the lack of, or minimal demand charges with such a solution make it reasonably profitable. Apparently, this grew out of anther program VW was engaged in for mobile DCFC.

And then there is this article about how EA is sourcing Tesla PowerPacks at a growing number of sites in order to shave demand charges. Or this article which McKinsey goes into the theoretical economics of local storage backed DC charging at a high level.

I haven't seen the numbers behind these solutions, but there are plenty of sources that claim DCFC will never be a profitable business as long as steep demand charges play a part. It is logical that battery backed DC charging is a worthwhile offset to demand charges if this much energy is going into these solutions. And after all, volume battery production being a key to lowering EV sticker prices, these other uses of batteries could help accelerate the dropping cost of EV batteries.

My hope is that if the VW idea of low-power grid-fed battery-backed DCFC at an installation cost that is significantly lower than conventional DCFC is viable, that we can economically achieve ubiquitous DC charging and take the pressure off of building longer range, higher priced EVs. You may recall we bantered these ideas a few days ago when discussing the key to EV adoption being 500 mile range EVs. This is where I was coming from with the idea of ubiquitous DC charging and being able to regain 150 miles of range in a 15 minute restroom\stretch stop, and doing so every two hours. With a 2 hour/15 minute cadence, a 250-300 mile range EV could drive all day and never stop for more than 15 minutes, provided it could charge at 150kW. And that would be a real game changer for a lot of naysayers.
As was shared with me in another post on here, enough to support grid-tie energy storage for our currently deployed public charging:

 
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