Tag Archives: electric vehicles

wallbox review

Introducing Wallbox: the European-based smart EV charger company

In 2019, the Solar Energy Industries Association declared the 2020s would be the ‘Solar+ Decade”. So far, their designation has come true, and then some: 2020 was the best year ever for energy storage deployment in the US, including at the residential level. But it’s not just energy storage that is being paired with solar; according to our recently released Installer Survey, in 2020, 1 in 12 solar installations also included an electric vehicle (EV) charger, while nearly as many people purchased an EV as purchased a solar panel system nationwide. 

But EVs are good for more than just transportation – they are powered by high-capacity batteries, which theoretically could be leveraged to play a similar role as a standard solar-battery, just with more storage capacity. One company that is pioneering this technology–typically called vehicle-to-grid or vehicle-to-home–is Wallbox, a 6-year-old, internationally located smart EV charging company. We had a chance to chat with Wallbox to learn about their products, the promise of vehicle-to-grid technology, and when you can expect to install that in your home. Here’s what we learned:

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Responsible lithium mining

The white gold rush for green lithium: can lithium production be done responsibly?

Lithium has been hailed as ‘white gold’ for its versatility and value in today’s world. But what exactly is it? Well, lithium powers technology spanning from the computer you’re reading this on to lifesaving pacemakers. Basically, any portable electronic device contains lithium. Lightweight, powerful, and rechargeable, this metal’s value also lies in its role as an essential piece in the clean energy revolution. Lithium batteries’ high energy density and ability to be recharged make them uniquely suited to power the electric vehicles (EVs) and electric grids of the future. However, despite the metal’s importance in the clean energy revolution, it’s incredibly resource-intensive to extract and this process causes environmental distress, leading many to wonder: can we produce lithium responsibly? 

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EV chargers overview

What you need to know about electric vehicle chargers

Electric vehicles are increasing in popularity. In fact, the odds are good that the next car you purchase will be partially or fully electric. (I know mine will be!) With that transition from an internal combustion engine vehicle to an electric vehicle (EV) comes one major difference: how you fill the “tank”. 

While driving to a gas station to refuel is second nature to anyone with a car, plugging into an electric vehicle charger is likely a new experience that comes with a series of questions. Here’s what you need to know about EV chargers. 

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Recycling batteries

Recycling solar batteries and electric car batteries: what you need to know about lithium-ion battery recycling

Electric vehicles (EVs) are all the rage – and might just be the centerpiece to the clean energy revolution. There’s a catch, however. Along with all of those electric cars comes an equal amount of lithium-ion batteries to power them, and recycling those batteries is a complicated, but necessary, problem to solve. What’s more, home batteries like the Tesla Powerwall are usually made of very similar materials to EV batteries, so there’s even more to recycle.

Similar to solar panel recycling, it’s expensive and difficult to separate out the components of a lithium-ion battery to the point where they can be recycled and reused. Nowadays, lithium-ion battery recycling exists, but not nearly on the scale and at the efficiency we need it to as batteries become more and more popular.

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Infrastructure bill

The infrastructure bill and budget reconciliation bill: what could they mean for clean energy?

On Earth Day 2021, the Biden Administration announced its goal “to reach 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035”– but, until recently, no legislation had been passed to actually meet this target. This all started to shift in August 2021, when the Senate passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and then immediately advanced a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that will lay the framework for a reconciliation bill. So, what’s the status of these bills? And how will they advance the U.S.’s clean energy transition? 

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Tesla's switch to LFP

Tesla’s shift to LFP batteries: why it matters

In 2020, Tesla announced that they would be manufacturing their Model 3 cars in China using lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, moving away from their traditional nickel-based chemistries they use in US-based car manufacturing. Tesla doubled down on their bet on iron batteries in the spring of 2021, announcing intent to use LFP batteries in their grid-scale energy storage solution: the Megapack.

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