Acculon Energy

Sparking Real Change: The Electrification Movement

The electrification movement holds immense potential to catalyze cascading changes across industries, beyond the cost of electrifying a product & its carbon footprint transformations. Join us as we go beyond this shortsighted approach & evaluate the scope of the potential transformations that electrification could trigger!

Contact: Betsy Barry
Communication Manager

One of the most expensive aspects of an EV, LEV, electric off-road application, or mobility product is the battery. While these advanced energy storage systems cost more upfront than their typical lead-acid counterpart, the long-term trend offers a clear decline in the cost, which makes the vehicles/applications themselves less expensive over time. But this is just one part of the picture. If you pan out using a wider lens, electrification has the potential to create a ripple effect of benefits beyond the application/EV or even the fleet level.  

As a use case, let’s explore a hypothetical and the cascading benefits that transitioning to an optimal energy storage system can trigger, focusing on a sodium-ion-powered golf car fleet at a world-class golf course like Pebble Beach Golf Links, for example, to consider the domino effect that could occur in tandem with adoption at just one significant site.  

Since we’re focusing on a fleet of golf cars, it’s important to acknowledge that various factors can significantly impact the total cost of ownership (TCO) for these electric vehicles. For example, energy prices can vary based on location and time. Charging patterns are an important consideration. State and federal taxes on electric vehicles (EVs) compared to internal combustion engines (ICEVs) can have a notable impact on TCO, with potential differences in rates affecting operational expenses. Additionally, subsidies available for EV fleets can greatly influence the upfront costs and ongoing expenses associated with maintaining a fleet of golf cars, further impacting the overall TCO. 

Aside from the cost, the battery pack’s cell chemistry, energy consumption, and charging patterns also impact sustainability considerations. So, with all of these variables in mind, let’s zoom out and look at a wider view to understand how the electrification movement can truly spark change. 

An advanced energy storage system means that the battery pack size adapts to the needs of the typical golf car and is optimized for two full rounds per day. In this scenario, fleet management software becomes increasingly crucial, streamlining operations and maximizing efficiency. The evolution extends to building energy management systems, which enhance sustainability via grid integration. Today, most golf cars charge overnight using conventional chargers. However, an optimal energy storage system like sodium-ion, which can charge in minutes, could inspire moving from “dumb chargers” to a J1772/NACS charging port or wireless charger (technology that exists today), improving operational flexibility and opening doors for revenue generation. How, you may ask?

Despite the initial investment, adopting optimized energy storage solutions can lead to significant long-term cost savings, through lower energy expenses, off-peak electricity rates, & the scalability of a business’s energy storage capacity.

Energy storage solutions like sodium-ion offer a dynamic approach to
demand response (DR), giving a golf course the ability to effectively manage peak energy demand. There are DR plans at both the state and federal levels. In California, for example, there are both complimentary technical support and attractive incentives for customers interested in installing automated DR equipment. This opportunity is available to customers enrolled in qualifying DR or time-varying pricing programs. Automated DR utilizes advanced communication and control technology to execute pre-programmed load reductions swiftly and reliably during peak events, all while empowering customers with complete control over their systems. The incentive, totaling $200 per kilowatt (up to 75% of total equipment and installation expenses), is awarded for measurable and verifiable automated load reductions. Eligible equipment includes energy management systems and software, as well as wired and wireless controls. DR programs accommodate customers with peak demands ranging from 50 to 499 kilowatts. Under this particular initiative, incentives amount to either $300 per kilowatt or 100% of the total actual eligible project costs, whichever is lower. 

Energy storage solutions can empower golf courses to adapt to fluctuating energy demands and grid conditions. With the ability to scale battery capacity as needed, golf courses can effectively respond to changes in energy prices and grid reliability. This flexibility allows these businesses to optimize energy usage, minimize operational costs, and maintain productivity even during grid outages or peak demand periods.

Thus, despite the initial investment, adopting optimized energy storage solutions can lead to significant long-term cost savings. Businesses can lower their overall energy expenses by leveraging stored energy during peak demand periods and taking advantage of off-peak electricity rates for charging. Additionally, the modular nature of battery systems allows for incremental expansion, enabling businesses to scale their energy storage capacity according to evolving needs and budget constraints.

In the golfing industry, there’s a significant challenge in adapting existing facilities rather than building new ones, as a limited number of new golf courses are being constructed in the United States. Consequently, the industry is tasked with retrofitting existing facilities to accommodate electric golf cars and other sustainable solutions. However, there’s a silver lining as governments offer incentives to support this transition, encouraging golf courses to embrace sustainability initiatives. These incentives play a crucial role in facilitating the retrofitting process, making it more financially feasible for golf course operators to adopt electric golf cars and other eco-friendly practices, like DR programs, for example. By embracing these technologies, golf courses can navigate the transition to a cleaner, more efficient energy future while maintaining productivity and competitiveness.