A new study of the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) and Deutsche Messe predict an immense potential for SecondLife batteries, while simultaneously strengthening energy sector coupling.

According to the study old lithium-ion accumulators from electric vehicles are able to provide 25 GWh, roughly the same amount of electricity as the German pumped hydro storage power plants, in 2025. This however requires a strong expansion of e-mobility. Hermann Falk, managing director of BEE attributes a crucial role for the success of the German Energiewende to the car manufacturing industry. “The federal government should therefore intensify its efforts in order to bring the one million electric cars on the road by 2020”, Falk said. After the batteries’ life in electric vehicles, they still possess 70 to 80 percent of their capacity.

The big potential for e-mobility rests heavily upon declining battery production prices. While each kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity from lithium-ion accumulators cost 500 Euro last year, in 2016 this price is considered to drop to 300 Euro. Until 2020 the price per kWh might even fall to 100 Euro.

The costs for electricity from lithium-ion batteries has to decline by 15 % annually, in order for electric cars to achieve energy cost parity with conventional cars with internal combustion engines. Furthermore, the production of batteries has to quadruple until 2020, if the potential for those accumulators as large scale electricity storage plants is to be exploited.