Car Batteries Are Not Just For the Car
January 23, 2012
By Matthew L. Wald of The New York Times: Coda Automotive is supposed to start selling its electric sedan next month. On Friday, its parent company announced that it was also moving into a related line: stationary batteries for electricity storage.
Coda Holdings will make minor modifications to battery packs for its cars, which use Chinese-manufactured lithium iron phosphate cells, and sell them individually or grouped together — both for storing solar power when homeowners’ rooftop panels generate more than they use, and to help businesses reduce their peak loads. Business customers usually pay for electricity on the basis of their highest level of use.
Because the packs are designed for cars, they are already modular and thus easy to scale up or scale down. Coda plans to sell its sedan with a battery pack of 31 kilowatt-hours or 36 kilowatt-hours; both numbers are roughly what a suburban house uses per day. The stationary module will be 40 kilowatt-hours.
The batteries could also pay for themselves in places where peak-hour power costs more than off-peak power, the company says, although very few places have such “time of use” rates today.
Utilities could also use them as backup in areas where demand for electricity has grown and improvements in distribution lines would otherwise be needed. One reason for such growth is the need for juice for electric cars, which raises the idea that the batteries could be charged up in periods of low demand so that they could later be tapped into by car owners to charge similar batteries in the cars. Read more