Audi engineers work to develop battery technology that offers consumers a battery design life of 150,000km or at least eight years of operation — with an average of around 18,000km per year. But, what happens after that?
The latest innovation from Audi sets out to put old batteries to use, by utilising them in the electrical grid in conjunction with solar technology, essentially harvesting power during the day and storing it for discharge during the night.
The first test site has been setup near the company’s Ingolstadt headquarters and uses two containers with the first housing a 20kW photovoltaic solar array with four traction batteries, while the other container features the connection and control technologies.
The second container uses a DC/AC converter that converts current from DC to AC at an operating voltage of 400V.
Audi expects to use these containers in unison with fast charging stations to operate at up to 250kW and enable drivers to pull up and charge their vehicles. During other times, the system can act as a buffer for renewable energy providers such as wind and solar power.
There is also a vision to offer a complete package for home use and to extend power draw ability to 500kW for high-energy requirements. The system operating life isn’t known at this stage, but is expected to run through until the batteries reach around 10 per cent service life capacity.
Should Australia be looking at a system like this to harness and store solar energy for later use?