Used EV batteries to charge EVs on Europe's motorways

Renault is supplying Europe with its second-hand electric vehicle batteries for energy storage.
Published: Wed 30 Aug 2017

Groupe Renault has installed two quick-charging stations in Belgium and Germany with partner, UK-based Connected Energy. This is the starting point of installing the E-STOR energy storage technology on Europe’s highways.

E-STOR was developed by Connected Energy to offer all the benefits of stored energy, according to the companies.Renault, a retailer of electric vehicle (EV) batteries in Europe, has access to used lithium-ion battery packs from its Renault Zoe, Kangoo Z.E., Twizy, Fluence Z.E., and SM3 Z.E.

Connected Energy’s storage system recharges the Renault EV batteries at low power. The stored energy is then released at high power. These batteries will be connected to a network of fast-charging stations located throughout Europe.

Reducing electricity costs

The two companies are selling the cost benefits and multiple applications of the technology which is predicted to reduce high electricity costs associated with the power grid. Customers who own their own homes, manage multiple-unit residences, and operate industrial facilities stand to benefit.

“Groupe Renault is supporting the development of charging infrastructures to simplify the daily life of electric vehicle drivers. Using our second-life batteries in fast EV charger contributes to progress by providing charging station operators with economical solutions. Moreover, it is a perfect example of circular economy implementation,” said Nicolas Schottey, head of the electric vehicle batteries and charging infrastructures programme.

EV batteries are performing adequately for eight-to-10 years of service in the EVs. Stationary applications extend the shelf life significantly into the circular economy before needing to be recycled.

Companies can find gains in load management. An energy optimisation platform in E-STOR can provide stored energy to avoid peak consumption periods, therefore avoiding high fees that are carried by the end user.

Property owners can use E-STOR to save clean energy generated through their solar panels or wind turbines. It can also serve as a revenue stream for selling clean power back to grid operators.

Wide-scale rollout

Talks are currently underway about bringing E-STOR services and second-life Renault batteries to other markets.

“We are now talking to several parties about projects in the UK and Europe and look forward to wide scale roll out in coming months,” said Matthew Lumsden, managing director at Connected Energy.

Like a few other EV manufacturers, Renault has been building an alternative revenue stream through its Li-ion batteries. The car manufacturer is partnering with the UK’s Powervault to give Renault EV batteries a second life for solar energy storage.

Fifty trial units are being placed in UK homes powered by solar panels with second-life Renault batteries.

Powervault is promoting the idea that if the trial run works, its smart battery system costs could be reduced by 30%, taking its technology to mass-market rollout in the UK.