Daimler taps spare part warehouse to store energy

February 01, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Stationary batteries are not really new – after all, Tesla, Nissan, Daimler and other carmakers are already selling used batteries from electric vehicles in a “second life” business model as energy storage. Daimler is now going one step further: The company is building an energy store that taps the spare parts depot of e-car batteries.

Along with its battery subsidiary Deutsche Accumotive GmbH and partner company enercity of Hannover, the carmaker is planning to build a new energy storage system, with a capacity of 15 MWh one of the largest ones in Europe. The unusual thing about this energy store is its business model. Daimler does not plan to sell it as a product, because it will tap some 3000 new traction batteries that are awaiting their use as spare parts for electric vehicles of the Smart electric drive subcompact cars in Daimler’s spare part warehouse in Herrenhausen near Hannover.

Charging and discharging is good for the batteries, Daimler says: In order to be ready for use as a spare part, the batteries need to be conditioned cyclically in a well-defined, careful manner to avoid deep discharging which would in turn damage the batteries. Traditional warehousing would thus be associated with high operating costs. Daimler avoids this operational effort with its innovative approach and at the same time makes profit: The batteries are connected to the grid and the operators participate in the energy market by offering primary balancing power services. The continuously varying primary balancing power demand in the grid along with the battery management system developed by Deutsche Accumotive ensures that the batteries are always in the best condition. According to Daimler, this process has no negative effect whatsoever on the aging of the batteries but instead acts “as a fountain of youth.”