Duke Energy and ITOCHU to Develop Strategies for Reusing Electric Vehicle Batteries

November 24, 2010

ITOCHU Corporation (headquarter in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) and Duke Energy signed an agreement today to collaborate on advanced energy technologies, starting with the evaluation and testing of second-life applications for electric vehicle batteries.

According to some auto industry estimates, electric vehicle (EV) batteries that can no longer charge to approximately 80 percent of their original capacity may be candidates for replacement. Duke Energy and ITOCHU believe batteries that become unsuitable for use in EVs could live on in other applications. Reuse possibilities for these batteries include providing a supplemental home energy supply, storing renewable power and providing a fast-charging power source for EVs.

To determine the technical feasibility and commercial viability of these second-life applications, Duke Energy and ITOCHU will first gather and analyze data from at least 2,000 kilowatt-hours of Ener1 lithium ion batteries deployed in a fleet of approximately 80 Th!nk plug-in Evs. Initial testing will occur in Duke Energy’s Indiana service territory.

Duke Energy and ITOCHU’s pilot program builds upon their involvement in Project Plug-IN, a large-scale public/private EV initiative based in Indianapolis.

The companies will assess how EV batteries perform in their “second lives,” including stationary applications in homes, neighborhoods and commercial buildings. This pilot project will help Duke Energy and ITOCHU validate potential business models for future commercialization. In addition, the companies believe increasing the total lifetime value of batteries through second-life applications could help reduce initial battery cost.

Duke Energy will provide engineering design support for battery installations, as well as supply test sites and personnel. ITOCHU will provide its stationary energy storage infrastructure expertise to enable the reuse of automotive batteries.

Both companies have served in leadership roles as the world prepares for the potential widespread adoption of EVs.

Duke Energy has been working closely with auto manufacturers, charging infrastructure companies, other electric utilities and the Electric Drive Transportation Association for several years to understand and influence the development of the EV customer experience, as well as impacts to the power grid.

In January 2010, ITOCHU became the first international board member of the Energy Systems Network, the Indianapolis-based organization behind Project Plug-IN. In May 2010, ITOCHU launched the Green Crossover Project in the Japanese city of Tsukuba. The purpose of this initiative is to develop an EV battery reuse business model; enhance energy management; and build the infrastructure necessary to enable EV quick-charging and streamlined customer billing transactions.

  1. Project Plug-IN
    Project Plug-IN is one of the largest projects of its kind in North America. It aims to develop a world-class low-carbon transportation system by combining electric vehicles (EVs) and smart grid technologies in the state of Indiana, which places special emphasis on the auto industry and annually holds the world-famous Indy 500. The project aims to deploy 1,000 EVs by 2012 and 4,000 by 2013.
  2. Th!nk Holdings AS
    Th!nk is a Norwegian company specializing in the development and manufacturing of EVs. Since 1991, Th!nk has manufactured and marketed more than 9,000 EVs mainly in Europe and North America. The company plans to establish a new production base in Indiana in 2011, and achieve global annual sales of 22,000 EVs in 2012. ITOCHU has been an equity partner in Th!nk since July 2010, and has acquired the exclusive rights to distribute its EVs and drive systems in Japan, as well as priority rights to market them in Asia.
    Company Name: THINK Holdings AS
    CEO: Richard Canny
    Registered Head Office: Martin Linges vei 17 NO-1364 Fornebu Norway
    Established: 1991
    Capital: NOK36.4 million (Full year ending December 2009)
    URL: http://www.thinkev.com [Open in a new window]
  3. Ener1, Inc.
    Ener1 is an American lithium-ion battery system manufacturer for EVs. In 2003, ITOCHU initially invested in Ener1, and increased its equity stake in response to a private placement of new shares in 2009. ITOCHU’s current equity percentage is approximately 5%. ITOCHU holds the exclusive rights to distribute Ener1’s lithium-ion battery systems in Japan, as well as priority rights to market them globally.
    Company Name: Ener1, Inc
    Chairman & CEO: Charles Gassenheimer
    Registered Head Office: 1540 Broadway Suite 25C New York, NY 10036 U.S.A.
    Established: 2002
    Capital: USD1.3 million (March 31 2010)
    Net Sales: USD34.8 million (Full year ending December 2009)
    URL: http://www.ener1.com [Open in a new window]
  4. EDTA
    EDTA stands for Electric Drive Transportation Association. Since its foundation in 1989, EDTA has promoted electric drive technology as the core technology applied towards the realization of sustainable transportation. Its members consist of auto manufacturers, electric power suppliers and companies from many industries.
  5. ESN
    ESN or Energy Systems Network was launched in April 2009. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, its members consist of companies and organizations with clean technologies ranging from electric vehicles to renewable energy. While providing project development and coordination for joint venture operations and business alliances between network members, ESN aims to bring new energy technologies to the global market through successful business models. 

About Duke Energy

Company Name Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK)
Headquarters Charlotte, North Carolina
Chairman & CEO James E. Rogers
Revenues $12.7 billion (for year ended Dec. 31, 2009)
Total Assets $57 billion (as of Dec. 31, 2009)
Employees Approximately 18,680 (as of Dec. 31, 2009)
Business Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 4 million customers located in five states in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 11 million people. Its commercial power and international business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK.
Internet www.duke-energy.com[Open in a new window]