JLR gives fresh purpose to used EV batteries

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The new portable Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) gives a second life to ‘unviable’ EV batteries in the form of an advanced energy bank : credit: © JLR
In a bid to make sustainability real and achieve its carbon net zero target by 2039, JLR has developed a new portable Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) using second-life Range Rover and Range Rover Sport PHEV batteries

In a bid to make sustainability real and achieve its carbon net zero target by 2039, JLR has developed a new portable Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) using second-life Range Rover and Range Rover Sport PHEV batteries.

The unit, which provides zero emissions power on the go, has been developed through a collaboration with energy storage start-up, Allye Energy. A single Allye MAX BESS holds seven second-life Range Rover and Range Rover Sport PHEV battery packs that have been safely deployed from the vehicles once their health falls below EV requirements – around 70 to 80 per cent residual capacity – and then slotted into customised racks, without unnecessary additional processing. Each BESS can store 270kWh of energy at full capacity, enough to power the average UK household for nearly a month (based on usage data from Ofgem).

The BESS can charge up to nine Range Rover PHEVs at any one time, and is designed to be easily charged by simply plugging it into any CCS-capable vehicle charger using the same input as JLR’s existing PHEV and BEV product portfolio. It can be also be used to replace diesel generators, historically relied on by the automotive industry, to power off-grid vehicle launches, events and vehicle tests in remote areas. JLR’s engineering team is the first to utilise the new BESS, providing zero emissions power during testing of the new Range Rover Electric, which will be launched later this year.

The average diesel generator typically uses 16 litres of fuel per hour, equivalent to a daily total of 129.12kg of CO2 for three hours’ use, JLR’s engineering team will use the BESS to power over 1000 hours of testing, saving more than 15,494kg of CO2 during the course of a year. According to JLR, that’s the same as one passenger taking seven round-trip flights from London to New York.

The BESS weighs less than 3.5 tonnes, allowing it to be fully portable or stationary, to provide energy storage for retailers or JLR sites, too. This would help JLR’s network of over 3000 retailers better leverage renewable energy such as solar and act as energy buffers to support fast charging where the local grid connection may be restricted.

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One example of how the BESS is being used practically in the development of Range Rover Electric is through the engineering team’s prolonged endurance testing in areas where only low-power connections are available, resulting in a slow charge. Engineers can top up the BESS from a low-power supply during testing and then transfer the power to the Range Rover Electric via fast charging from the BESS, much more quickly than directly charging the vehicle from the supply. Working in this way allows the testing to be completed in a quicker timeframe than is normally possible.

Battery value chains are predicted to grow 30 per cent annually from 2022 to 2030, to reach a value of more than $400billion. Second-life battery supply for stationary applications is predicted to exceed 200 gigawatt-hours per year by 2030, creating a global value in excess of $30billion.

Once these second-life batteries can no longer hold a suitable charge, JLR will recycle them so that the raw materials can be recovered for reuse as part of a true circular economy.