Volkswagen Commissions a Mega Powerbank Unit From Used Batteries

Published on: 23 July 2022
by KnowESG
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At its Zwickau automobile assembly factory, Volkswagen opened the first fast-charging park in Saxony, primarily powered by a so-called power storage container (PSC).

The PSC is a colossal energy storage unit that is comprised of 96 cell modules with a total capacity of 570 kWh. The benefit is that fast-charging infrastructure can be constructed practically anywhere, even in areas with limited grid capacity. 

Residential areas are one possible region where it can be used. In addition, this approach is sustainable, as all cell modules in the PSC were previously installed as batteries in pre-production variants of the ID.31 and ID.42, and have now been repurposed. 

Through the pilot project, Volkswagen Sachsen is demonstrating its technical knowledge, which extends beyond the production of its six all-electric vehicles. Two central German companies, AW Automotive and Automotive Research, contributed to the project's completion.

Karen Kutzner, managing director for finance and control at Volkswagen Sachsen, said: 

“Reusing batteries is important for the future, and it’s closely linked to the acceleration in the trend toward electric mobility. With the power storage container, Volkswagen Sachsen is demonstrating a practical, cost-effective and useful case to enable cell modules at the end of their service lives to have a second life. This automotive power bank could be used wherever the capacity of the grid connection is too low, but there is demand for powerful charging infrastructure. Innovative ideas like this could provide renewed impetus for the critical buildup of fast-charging infrastructure.”

As a huge battery storage unit, the PSC provides an economical alternative to a transformer station. It facilitates the rapid delivery of large amounts of energy without overburdening the electricity infrastructure.

The temporary storage of energy avoids significant fundamental expenses that would otherwise be incurred during standby operation, even while no vehicles are charging.

The vehicle power bank could potentially make it possible to construct HPC infrastructure where previously only 11 kW AC charging was possible, such as in residential areas. 

For fast-charging parks with high-power chargers (HPCs), transformer stations are provided with a link to a medium-voltage grid that operates 24 hours a day and requires a substantial initial expenditure. This is accompanied by a charge time of a few hours every day on average.

The charging park near the west entrance of the Zwickau facility consists of four charging stations, each with a 150 kW output that can be divided into two 75 kW outputs. 

This allows up to eight automobiles to charge simultaneously. In addition to other sources, the electricity comes from the nearby photovoltaic project. 

Since Volkswagen Sachsen began acquiring renewable electricity in 2017, all vehicles are charged with 100 per cent renewable energy. By the end of the year, three fast-charging parks will be operational on the factory premises.

Volkswagen Sachsen relies on a solution that Audi successfully implemented as part of the Audi charging centre in Nuremberg's metropolitan region for the PSC. The container cubes consist of discarded lithium-ion batteries from disassembled Audi test vehicles, which serve as direct-current (DC) electricity buffer storage.

Source: Thrust Zone

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