Tesla and Electrify America, VW’s electric vehicle charging network, announced that they reached a deal for the former to deploy Powerpacks at over 100 charging stations operated by the latter.
Demand charges, a higher rate that an electric utility charges when a user’s electricity needs spike, are resulting in incredible costs for charging station operators.
The use of energy storage at charging stations in order to shave the peak usage is a solution to those demand charges.
Tesla has been exploring the solutions for years and Elon Musk has been talking about accelerating energy storage deployment at Superchargers when they are going to introduce a new version in the coming months.
But Electrify America is not waiting.
They announced today that they will deploy Tesla Powerpack systems consisting of “a 210 kW battery system with roughly 350 kWh of capacity” at over 100 charging stations. The system will be designed to be modular in order to increase the capacity if needed.
Giovanni Palazzo, chief executive officer of Electrify America, commented on the announcement:
“Our stations are offering some of the most technologically advanced charging that is available. With our chargers offering high power levels, it makes sense for us to use batteries at our most high demand stations for peak shaving to operate more efficiently. Tesla’s Powerpack system is a natural fit given their global expertise in both battery storage development and EV charging.”
The company says that the Powerpacks are going to be deployed this year as they keep building up their charging network.
It’s interesting that Electrify America is using Tesla’s Powerpacks since Volkswagen, the startup’s parent company, has been developing their own technology to combine charging and energy storage.
It would be funny if Electrify America ends up using Powerpacks at its charging stations before Tesla does itself.
To be fair, Tesla as also been adding Powerpacks to its own Superchargers, which kept a charging station online during a power outage last year, but it’s not at the scale that Electrify America is talking about here.
Elon has been linking a larger deployment to Supercharger V3. Tesla even said that they expect their next-gen charging stations to “significantly lower their operational and capital expenditures.”
I asked Elon how they expect to achieve that:
While he didn’t want to answer, the deployment of energy storage is expected to be part of it. Many people under-estimate just how quick demand charges can add up for charging station operators.