Innovative use of used EV batteries

by Ernie Hernandez on August 1, 2015


FreeWire Technologies develops mobile EV charging

One concern of the relatively new EV industry is what is going to be done with used EV batteries. California based FreeWire Technologies, one of hopefully many more to come, has a creative solution.

When an electric vehicle (EV) battery produces only 70 percent of its original capability due to battery degradation over time, it may not suffice for an EV driver any longer. While replacement batteries are now available, what becomes of that original battery? The Mobi mobile EV charging solution is one possible answer.

FreeWire Technologies has developed two products using second-life EV batteries. First, the Mobi charger is a mobile EV charging solution that brings the charger to you. Each system holds 48 kWh of second-life EV batteries to provide Level 2 and Level 3 charging capabilities to EVs. This is significantly more capacity than most EVs currently have on-board, and could possibly top off several EVs after their arrival at work. Perhaps your employer wishes to encourage EV ownership, but is put off by the significant cost to install fixed EV charging stations. The Mobi charger could provide that ability without entailing a significant infrastructure expense. It also provides scalability, as additional units could be provided on an as needed basis.

Another product offered is the Mobi Gen. With 40 kWh of second-life EV batteries on board, the Mobi Gen would be particularly useful on cinematic  sets. Without the noise and exhaust of a conventional generator, the Mobi Gen provides clean 120 volt and 240 volt power (up to 12,000 watts) cleanly and quietly. In fact, the Mobi Gen recently won the Best Tech Award at Cine Gear Expo 2015 for developing a novel film production solution.

Finally, one other application of the Mobi charger would be truly mobile charging opportunities to rescue you in the event that you were left stranded on the road. FreeWire is currently evaluating such a service in the Bay Area of California. With fast charging capabilities, this seems like one of the best use cases, especially in high-density EV areas. Operators across the country could economically add Mobi chargers to their fleet to enhance the services that they already provide.

Disruptive technologies (the EV industry) often create opportunities where none existed before. It is the creative thought process that sees what others do not that can truly make an impact in undeveloped territory. We expect to see more innovations such as this as the EV industry develops.


Stopgap larger battery 2016 LEAF due this fall

by Ernie Hernandez on May 31, 2015

2015 LEAF Front

2016 LEAF to bridge gap to LEAF 2.0

[UPDATE 6/13/2015] I have confirmation that Nissan’s upper two trim levels will use the new technology battery cells in the current battery modules. Nissan will not confirm the range, but it’s a safe bet that range will improve to at least 105 epa-rated miles.


It seems the EV world is awash with the news of the battery upgrade coming this fall. Nissan, of course, has released no information so as not to slow sales of current models. But leaks happen, and word has come from enough various sources that it seems to be true. Look for a 30 kilowatt hour battery pack in the SV and SL models, with the S model continuing to make do with the current 24 kilowatt hour pack. Apparently new color choices will also be available on the existing body style which will continue for one more year.

In October 2012 NEC (One of Nissan’s battery partners, along with Automotive Energy Supply Corporation AESC) announced the development of a higher voltage battery pack that offers 30% more energy density for the same weight (found here). Presumably the time span since the announcement has been spent on continued development on reliability rather than power improvement.

What follows is pure speculation on my part.

The SV and SL models will use the new battery chemistry in the existing battery case. The S will use up the existing inventory of remaining current battery chemistry modules. The new 2017 LEAF will use the new chemistry in a reconfigured case designed specifically for the new model design and will be larger to hold a greater capacity. There may be two battery pack sizes offered on the 2017 model. Nissan has released no information regarding the 2017 LEAF either in regard to design or launch date.

What does this mean? For those acquiring a 2016 SV or SL LEAF, look for an EPA range of roughly 105 miles. In order for Nissan to meet their stated goal of doubling current LEAF driving range for the next generation LEAF, look for an optional battery pack on the 2017 LEAF of 50 kilowatt hours or so. 60 kilowatt hours will get the range over 200 miles. For those looking to buy a used LEAF, look for even better prices later this year.


Look for Monster Tajima at Pike’s Peak in Rimac electric race car

May 26, 2015
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Potential record setting combination I’ve written about Rimac before (found here). Founded five years ago, Rimac hasn’t run out of money yet, and they build a wicked fast electric vehicle (EV) concept. Now, according to their new YouTube video (found here), it looks like they are teaming with the also wicked fast Monster Tajima to […]

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Tennessee, Connecticut offer EV incentives

May 25, 2015
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States encourage EV ownership Connecticut EV buyers will for the first time qualify for rebates up to $3,000. Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell and Toyota Mirai will also qualify for the maximum rebate. Hybrids or EVs with a seven to eighteen kilowatt hour battery qualify for $1,500, while smaller battery hybrids are eligible for $750. Tennessee, […]

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The Electric Car book

May 24, 2015
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Looking for beta readers for my new electric car book I have just completed my new e-book The Electric Car – Is an Electric Car Right for You? After fretting over it for the past four years, I think it’s time that I finally stopped fretting, and got to publishing. I am looking for fifteen […]

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Let’s talk about battery degradation

May 9, 2015

Battery degradation isn’t that big of a deal for many [UPDATE: Here’s a link to an article (found here) about a LEAF in the UK that went 100,000 miles in under two years with no degradation.] First, a definition. Electric vehicle (EV) battery degradation is when the battery loses capacity over time. If you’ve ever […]

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Nissan to launch autonomous car in Japan in 2016

April 3, 2015
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Ghosn confirms at NYIAS Nissan, having agreed on a five year development partnership with¬†NASA on the development of autonomous vehicles, has confirmed that their first market to have the vehicle will be Japan next year according to comments by Carlos Ghosn, Nissan CEO, at the New York International Auto Show. There is a very sound […]

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LEAF 2.0?

March 7, 2015
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Did Nissan just show the second generation LEAF in Geneva? Introduced as the Nissan SWAY at the 2015 Geneva International Motor Show as a possible European crossover, this new small hatchback could easily fit into another role. My thought is that Nissan is previewing LEAF 2.0. Nissan has stated three design concepts that will make […]

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CHAdeMO vs. SAE CCS vs. Tesla Supercharger

February 19, 2015
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Who is king of the mountain? While editing my last post, looking at the maps of DC quick chargers in Japan and in the United States, it made me wonder how the coverage would compare when evaluating the three standards available in the U.S. now. Using the site once again, here is a visual […]

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Are electric car charging stations taking over Japan?

February 17, 2015
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The real story is the quick chargers Many in the media lately have been writing about the recent announcement by a Nissan Japan corporate VP that there are more electric car charging stations in Japan than there are gas stations. It’s not much of a stretch to then move on to say that there are […]

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