EVgo Introduces New Grid-Tied Chargers With Second-Life BMW i3 Batteries

JUL 31 2018 BY MARK KANE 8

EVgo launched its first commercial installation of second-life battery storage at a public DC fast charging station in Union City, CA at 3960 Smith Street.

The site combines two 50 kW fast chargers and an energy storage system that in a single housing integrates two BMW i3 battery packs (22 kWh each). Using a 30 kW inverter (provided by Princeton Power Systems), the ESS turns into 30 kW/44 kWh system that is charged from the grid during peak solar electricity production for later use when peak fast-charging demand occurs. The software controls were developed by Kisensum.

Batteries are recycled from the i3, which makes us wonder about their capacity loss and origin, as the i3 packs were considered as very durable with minimal capacity loss.

EVgo stats:

  • more than 1,000 chargers in 66 metropolitan markets in 34 U.S. states
  • more than 75,000 customers
  • provides more than 100,000 charges per month

More about the project:


“Following a pilot program at University of California San Diego (UCSD), this second-life battery system has been unveiled at an operational EVgo fast charging station located in Union City, CA at 3960 Smith Street.

EVgo has integrated second-life BMW i3 batteries to store energy from the grid generated during peak solar hours and later use that stored energy to fast-charge EVgo customers during periods of high demand. In addition to reducing curtailment of solar or wind power, a benefit to all grid users, EVgo is also commercially demonstrating the reuse of EV batteries for grid benefit.”

“The EVgo Union City site began operating earlier this summer and already has two 50-kilowatt (kW) DC fast chargers. The second-life battery system integrates two BMW i3 battery packs into a single housing. Each second-life battery pack has a capacity of 22 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and when combined with a 30 kW inverter offers a 30 kW/44 kWh energy storage system capable of demand charge management.

EVgo conducted a successful test case at the UCSD microgrid prior to launching the second-life battery system in Union City. This test case and the Union City implementation are part of the first of three technology demonstration projects that EVgo is currently engaged in with support from the California Public Utilities Commission: 1) energy storage to support electric vehicle fast charging; 2) a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology project; and 3) high power electric vehicle charging (50kW+).

The Union City project was a success thanks to the many partners involved in the project. BMW provided the recycled energy storage packs from BMW i3s and continues to provide ongoing technical support. Princeton Power Systems provided inverter hardware and integrated the inverter with the battery packs into a productized system. Kisensum developed software controls for the battery system and managed software integration for the overall site level demand charge management. EVgo plans to deploy additional energy storage resources at stations across the network and sees energy storage as a key technology to enable affordable DC fast charging.”

Cathy Zoi, CEO of EVgo said:

“EVgo is pushing energy storage innovations forward in the EV space, as we deliver solutions for our customers that are good for the environment and the economics of fast charging. Our Union City station is just the start of EVgo’s work integrating advanced energy storage into our rapidly expanding fast charging network across the USA.”

Austin Brown, Executive Director of the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy said:

“The increased use of second-life battery technology is an exciting development, keeping fast charging of clean electric vehicles affordable and insulating the grid from spikes in electricity demand. Reusing batteries as backup for charging is a win-win for the economics and the environmental benefits of EVs.”

Categories: BMW, Charging, ESS

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8 Comments on "EVgo Introduces New Grid-Tied Chargers With Second-Life BMW i3 Batteries"

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Considering many (most?) free chargers I see only get 10 kWh in 30 minute free charge, having 44 kWh battery seems way overkill. Rather than batteries, money is better spent on having more chargers to alleviate 9 cars waiting at 2 charger site.

the batteries enable more kwh .

How so? As it is, free chargers only charge 10 kWh in 30 minutes using 50 kW charger, less than 50% utilization. Adding battery would not change the car’s limitation.

More than one customer per day, perhaps?

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

This is a good start but why are they only 50KW chargers?

The 3 EVGo stations near my house don’t even work (both J1772 are completely non-operational and the CCS Combo/CHadMo has it’s totally futuristic Windows XP crash every time you try to start a payment).

“…Batteries are recycled from the i3, which makes us wonder about their capacity loss and origin, as the i3 packs were considered as very durable with minimal capacity loss…”

…there are probably enough floating in the junk yards for this first run/pilot program…however if it is successful, where are they going to get enough used i3 battery packs?

…wishful thought if they will help push the i3 battery upgrade program to North America?

BMW supply the batteries (new) for boats and other energy storage systems.
They also resque batteries from crashed cars to use the expensive batteries for a much longer time.
I think most EV manufacturers would do similar things. Nissan do the same at least.