Are we languishing, or working off a 20th-century legacy? Gartner’s hype cycle suggests the latter, as new technologies start producing value.
EVs & Storage
Walgreens plans to install eVgo electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at approximately 800 locations across the country by the end of the year, making it the nation’s largest retail host. The charging stations will feature either a high-speed direct current (DC) charger that can add 30 miles of range in as little as 10 minutes of charging time, or a level 2 charger that can add up to 25 miles of range per hour of charge. Major markets expected to host these sites include Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Select locations in Florida, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington will also receive EV charging stations. Walgreens already has installations under way for EV charging stations at more than 60 stores across Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth and Chicago.
Dow Chemical and Ube Industries formed a joint venture, Advanced Electrolyte Technologies , to manufacture and market formulated electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries in energy storage applications. The 50-50 joint venture is expected to be finalized later this year, pending regulatory approval. Advanced Electrolyte Technologies’s first manufacturing facility is expected to be built at Dow’s Midland, Mich., operations site for startup in 2012.
Valence Technology announced its lithium phosphate batteries earned favorable first phase reviews during a large electric vehicle assessment program being conducted by Ford-Werke GmbH in Cologne, Germany. As part of the ColognE-mobile study, Smith Electric Vehicles in the UK manufactured and delivered 10 Smith Edison electric vehicles to Ford in February 2010. The study has been underway for 15 months and Ford recently announced that the vehicles are meeting reliability, practicality, and ease-of-use goals. The all-electric Smith Edison uses the Ford Transit chassis, has a 1,000-kilogram (2,200 lbs) payload and utilizes Valence’s patented lithium phosphate batteries. The Edison vehicles have a range of up to 165 kilometers (102 miles) with a top speed of 80 km/hour (50mph), powered by a 90 kW (122 hp) three-phase AC induction motor.
General Motors signed a definitive agreement with ABB Group to identify joint research and development projects that would reuse Chevrolet Volt battery systems, which will have up to 70 percent of life remaining after their automotive use is exhausted. Recent research conducted by GM predicts that secondary use of 33 Volt batteries will have enough storage capacity to power up to 50 homes for about four hours during a power outage. GM and ABB demonstrated an energy storage system that combines a proven electric vehicle battery technology and a proven grid-tied electric power inverter. The two companies are building a prototype that could lead to Volt battery packs storing energy, including renewable wind and solar energy, and feeding it back to the grid. The system could store electricity from the grid during times of low usage to be used during periods of peak demand, or during outages and brownouts.