One often heard argument around the campfire at certain club "events" is that EV's aren't as efficient as "they" would have us believe. Because, well, "think about it" - the environmental carnage that occurs as the result of manufacturing and then later disposing of all those batteries is surely either equal to, or worse than, the bigfoot-sized carbon footprint of a V8 Range Rover.
What campfire guy doesn't know is that he is up against JLR CEO Ralf Speth, and Ratan Tata, CEO of Tata, JLR's parent company. Those two are determined in their pursuit of large-scale success in the EV sector for JLR and the UK as a whole. Both companies have on their own made significant investments in the British economy, including university and tech/ research incubator programs designed to foster innovative and sustainable businesses, such as the recent £5.7M matching grant to Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at University of Warwick, to fund research on batteries and power management electronics, among other things.
WMG are researching more ways to repurpose used EV batteries. Second-life batteries lessen the environmental impact of the carbon and energy expended during their manufacture, further tipping the sustainability scales in the direction of EVs.
Following on an Innovate UK grant, Jaguar Land Rover and WMG are partnering with Connected Energy, an energy storage company with significant experience in creating second life battery systems. Their British designed E-STOR energy storage technology will be adapted to second life Jaguar Land Rover batteries. Other work will be undertaken by WMG on the use of varied second life battery modules.
Speaking about the second life project, Ryan Fisher, the project lead for JLR, reiterated Speth's promise that “From 2020 all new Jaguar Land Rover vehicles will have the option of electrification. This project explores how automotive batteries can be given a second life in energy storage solutions to support wider industry needs.”
Other aspects of the project include research into how best to deploy second life batteries into developing world applications. Offering lower cost and high-reliability second life battery storage systems can provide much-improved access to energy in the world’s poor communities.
Lastly, the project will also help provide an understanding of how EVs will fit into society in larger numbers, as per the JLR playbook, while incorporating a responsible approach for recycling, reclamation, and disposal of EV batteries.
My only question is, if one is attending a Land Rover club event and everyone shows up in plug-in Range Rovers, how will we ever get the campfires going without a jerry can of fuel laying around? Furthermore, what will we do with all that extra space on our roof racks?
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