Daimler Automotive Group, the German multinational that owns Mercedes-Benz, will offer stationary energy storage solutions for industrial, commercial, and private residential use. ACCUmotive, a Daimler subsidiary that was initially formed in 2009 to develop vehicle-focused lithium-ion technology, will operate the project. It’s expected the project will expand greatly in the fall, including sales and distribution networks around the world.

The moves echo similar sentiments from Tesla Motors. Elon Musk has previously stated a desire to sell stationary battery packs similar to those found in the Model S for in-home use, storing electricity from renewable and off-peak sources.

Meanwhile, Daimler has been working toward repurposing its road-going battery tech for stationary use since 2012, and has already established its first large-scale industrial energy storage setup on Germany’s electricity grid to help smooth out delivery in the Saxony-Kamenz area. The setup uses 96 lithium-ion batteries with over 500 kWh of energy storage. Daimler is expected to expand that figure to 3,000 kWh in the coming weeks.

“Mercedes-Benz energy storage systems are the best proof that lithium-ion batteries made in Germany are a model for the future, and not just in cars,” said Mercedes-Benz Cars head of electrics/electronic development and E-Drive, Harald Kroger. “With our comprehensive battery knowhow at Deutsche ACCUmotive, we can accelerate the energy revolution both on the road and in the power of businesses and households.”

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Why it matters

So far, Daimler says it will offer battery modules with a 2.5-kWh capacity for private use, while the industrial packs store 5.9 kWh. The company says that up to eight of the 2.5-kWh modules can be combined, yielding 20 kWh of storage, with scaling for commercial and industrial use also available.

The company says that up to eight of the 2.5-kWh modules can be combined, yielding 20 kWh of storage, with scaling for commercial and industrial use also available.

It appears as though Daimler has lofty goals when it comes to selling battery packs: “The operation in mid-trade, such as supermarkets, can also benefit enormously from stationary energy storage by using buffering during consumption peaks, such as on hot days,” he said. "It is also suitable for private use, so it can be that households can mate it with their own photovoltaic systems, catching the excess solar electricity with virtually no loss,” Kroger said.

As energy prices increase, it’s fascinating to see automotive companies like Daimler and Tesla step in to try and capitalize on the situation by adapting existing technologies. BMW is another marque with it’s own ideas about saving money on the electricity bill, debuting a concept product dubbed the “i Home Charging Services” at CES this year.

BMW’s idea is focused primarily on topping off personal electric vehicles. Here’s how it works: by combining “vehicle charging with the household electrical system and online-based data systems,” the i Home Charging Service selectively chooses the cheapest energy available, whether it’s home-generated solar or off-peak from the grid. Backing this was a concept product that used repurposed vehicle batteries for stationary use (as a reminder, BMW offers the i8 and i3 EVs). BMW hopes to make the new system available to customers as early as 2016, potentially saving hundreds of dollars per year in power costs.

It should also be remembered that emissions regulations affect more than four-wheeled machine with a tailpipe. Power plants are also feeling the squeeze, and the inevitable result will be more money asked of the consumer, no matter if it’s a household or factory. What’s most interesting, though, is that we’re seeing solutions come from carmakers.

If the plug-in EV is to be part of the answer to these changes going forward, then it makes sense to have an all-inclusive solution come from the same companies. What’s more, these are the same companies that are developing battery technology at a furious rate to compete against one another for the best range and recharge times possible. Why not put them to use in other areas, like keeping your fridge running or moving an assembly line during a brownout?

In many ways, it’s a similar situation to the era when stationary internal combustion engines were used to power mills and factories outside the wider electrical grid.

In many ways, it’s a similar situation to the era when stationary internal combustion engines were used to power mills and factories outside the wider electrical grid.

“What we have already proven over millions of kilometers travelled in the most adverse conditions, such as heat and cold and rain and snow, we bring to create the best technology for stationary use,” Kroger said. “We have opened up new growth opportunities with our entry in to the new business field of stationary energy storage for industrial and private clients.”

As one final note, it should be mentioned that Daimler sources powertrain components from Tesla, which begs the question – will the two companies share energy storage solutions as well? Where will these new developments in battery tech lead us, not just in the automotive world, but in the home and at work? Will automotive companies be forced to become one-stop-shops for energy, offering not just vehicles, but the infrastructure to support them as well?

Maybe. I could certainly see mini-grids appear in support of this energy revolution we seem to be swept up in, complete with large-scale storage, renewable collection, and hyper-efficient transportation. I’m imagining a Mercedes solar/wind electric generator hooked up to a Mercedes battery pack to charge a Mercedes vehicle.

Forget mpg, what’s your kWh?

Source: Motoring

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