Renault says that at the end of their useful in-vehicle life, electric vehicle (EV) batteries still have considerable remaining capacity, which means that they can continue to give service in other applications before they are ultimately recycled. And with rapidly increasing EV sales – 97,687 EVs were sold in Europe in 2015, up 48% on 2014 – so is the requirement in energy to charge them.
Connected Energy Ltd, through its E-STOR technology, is developing innovative “second life” uses for EV batteries. For example, energy generated from on-site renewable generation resources such as solar panels and wind turbines can be stored, and then later released as needed at a later time. The system also allows the batteries to be charged via low-cost off-peak electricity tariffs, enabling users to reduce their energy costs.
The first E-STOR product is nominally rated at 50kW/50kWhr which could typically be used to support one rapid charger or a cluster of fast chargers but the system is fully scalable and higher capacity units could follow.
As well as allowing more efficient use of energy, the system can also enable installation of rapid electric vehicle charging in sites where electricity supply would traditionally only allow slower rates. Instead of charging vehicles via a high-capacity supply directly from the grid, E-STOR allows multiple batteries to be charged at a slower rate over a period of time, ready to release their energy and charge a car when an EV driver needs it.
Matthew Lumsden, Managing Director, Connected Energy, said: “E-STOR will enable the more cost-effective roll-out of electric vehicles in commercial and industrial settings, thus increasing the overall sustainability of this clean form of transport. With Renault we have secured the supply of second life batteries for future E-STOR installations.”
Eric Feunteun, Electric Vehicle Program Director, Renault, commented: The second life application of Renault electric vehicle batteries supports Renault’s commitment to the energy transition in the automotive industry . Through E-STOR, EV owners can charge their car at reduced costs with electricity that is less carbon-dependent. It makes driving an EV a smart and even more sustainable transportation solution. With this energy management technology, EVs and their batteries become an asset for the grid rather than create overload.”
In 2015, Renault was the best performing EV brand in Europe, with sales rising 49 per cent to 23,086 units, with a 23.6 per cent European EV market share. In the UK, Zoe sales were up 102 per cent in 2015 to 2,053 vehicles in a British electric vehicle market up 48 per cent over the previous year.
In June 2015, E-STOR was named winner of the innovation category in the British Renewable Energy Awards 2015, hosted by the Renewable Energy Association.