Vector and Relectrify use second-life batteries for distribution grid storage

Vector, New Zealand’s leading distributor of electricity and gas, is exploring the possibility of turning end-of-life Electric Vehicle (EV) batteries into affordable power storage for homes and businesses. 

In collaboration with Relectrify, an Australian battery control technology growth firm, the trial is testing the capability of EV batteries to be converted into electricity storage batteries.

End-of-life battery packs from New Zealand’s most common EV, the Nissan Leaf, were retrofitted with a battery management system developed by Relectrify, and connected to the grid via a standard hybrid inverter.

At the end of their life, when batteries can no longer provide the driving range and acceleration required to power EVs, they still hold up to 80 percent of their storage capability. During the trial, Nissan Leaf battery packs were repurposed to supply est. 15kWh of usable energy at power levels up to 10kW – or enough electricity to power a standard New Zealand solar home for 1-2 nights.

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Cristiano Marantes, Head of Engineering at Vector, says the trial’s results open up significant possibilities.

“As electric vehicles become more and more popular in New Zealand, they bring with them an increasing supply of lithium-ion batteries. Once these batteries reach the end-of-life, they provide no further use in a car.

We have successfully proven that with Relectrify control technology, these batteries can be kept out of landfill and hold significant value for further use. This is fantastic from both a business opportunity and sustainability point of view.

The results open up an opportunity to build affordable power storage for our distribution network here in Auckland to help solidify its resiliency. While this requires some further development towards scaling, the possibility of what we could achieve is really exciting.”

Relectrify’s co-founder and CEO, Valentin Muenzel, says the company is seeing significant interest in its control technology across geographies and applications. 

“Vector brings extensive insight into distribution requirements and storage opportunities, alongside an interest in solutions that solve the key problems of tomorrow. Relectrify is positioned to enable collaborators such as Vector to build uniquely affordable and capable battery storage products, including for households, businesses, and the power grid.”

Relectrify’s work on this innovative project has received support by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science under the Entrepreneurs’ Programme. 

About Vector

Vector is New Zealand’s leading multi-network infrastructure company which delivers energy and communication services to more than one million homes and businesses across the country. Vector is leading the country in creating a new energy future for customers and continues to grow and invest in the growth of Auckland and in a wide range of activities and locations. Vector is listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange with ticker symbol VCT. Our majority shareholder, with voting rights of 75.1%, is Entrust.

About Relectrify

Relectrify is a developer of advanced battery control solutions. Based in Melbourne, Australia and working with collaborators around the world, Relectrify’s technologies demonstrably increase the lifetime and decrease the cost of battery storage systems in homes, industry, the power grid, and beyond.