Rivian Automotive Is Using Second-Life Batteries To Support Energy Independence In Puerto Rico

By Amit Chowdhry ● Updated August 6, 2019
  • Rivian Automotive announced a project to use its second-life batteries for a solar microgrid initiative with the Honnold Foundation.

Over the weekend, Rivian Automotive announced a project for using its second-life batteries as part of a solar microgrid initiative with the Honnold Foundation. The goal of the project is to support energy independence and the adoption of renewable power generation.

The project is being set up in the town of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico and it marked Rivian’s first steps in its broad plan to utilize second-life batteries for a wide variety of applications. Rivian is using 135kWh battery packs from the company’s development vehicles for supporting this project.

Adjuntas is a city with a population of 20,000 in midwestern Puerto Rico. And Adjuntas was severely impacted by Hurricane Maria in 2017. And as climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of storms, Adjuntas NGO Casa Pueblo has been seeking to collaborate on rugged and affordable sources of community power.

Earlier this year, The Honnold Foundation and Rivian battery engineers visited Casa Pueblo to meet with community leaders. And together, they are designing a site-specific system for powering many businesses located in the Adjuntas town square. In power loss scenarios, the downtown solar microgrid will allow Adjuntas residents to access electricity for core businesses. By offsetting day-to-day electric bills, the system brings down high commercial energy costs, which in Puerto Rico are twice the national average.

Rivian designed the pack, module, and battery management system to seamlessly transition from vehicle energy storage to stationary energy storage at the end of their vehicle life. The battery module’s thin design also enables second-life applications that are customizable and space-efficient — which is important for environments with existing infrastructure.

“Second-life batteries are a big enabler to accelerating widespread adoption of renewable energy, and it’s exciting to envision this system contributing importantly to a community. This project allows us to model a customized energy storage solution that takes into account space constraints, disaster resiliency, and energy independence,” said Scaringe in a statement.

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe and elite climber Alex Honnold discussed the project in Denver over the weekend from the electric vehicle maker’s YouTube channel. The conversation was moderated by athlete and podcaster Rich Roll.

The second-life battery system is expected to launch in 2020. And in late 2020, Rivian will be launching the R1T (electric pickup truck) and R1S (electric SUV) in the US followed by other geographies in 2021.

Some of the other major announcements that Rivian made this year is that it is working on Rivian-to-Rivian vehicle charging. And the company is also building a camp stove add-on that utilizes the battery pack of vehicles for camping enthusiasts.