Second-life EV batteries help new electric vehicles recharge
Renault and British energy storage business Connected Energy have installed battery-based quick-charge stations for electric vehicles at highway rest areas in Belgium and Germany, in a project claimed to be a global first.
The E-Stor technology developed by Connected Energy uses second-life batteries from Renault electric vehicles (EVs). With this system, the batteries are recharged at low power and the stored energy is then released at high power. This makes it possible to offer EV charging services in locations where constructing a high-power connection to the power grid would be very costly.
It is hoped that the system will contribute to the development of a network of quick-charging stations across Europe.
Electric vehicle batteries generally have a service life of eight to ten years before their performance degrades to the point where they need to be replaced. However, they still have substantial capacity for further use in stationary applications, so it makes sense to find suitable applications that will take advantage of this extended life before recycling.
To optimise this complete life cycle, Renault operates a battery rental scheme for the customers of its electric vehicles. It aims to reuse these batteries for stationary energy storage, working with partners to offer products for applications ranging from individual homes and multiple-unit residences to industrial sites.
“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 chargers contributes to progress by providing charging station operators with economical solutions. Moreover, it is a perfect example of circular economy implementation,” says Nicolas Schottey, head of Renault’s electric vehicle batteries and charging infrastructures programme.
Matthew Lumsden, managing director of Connected Energy, commented: “We are developing a range of E-Stor systems. Some, like the two installed in Belgium and Germany, are designed specifically to enable lower-cost, more sustainable, electric vehicle charging, so it’s very great to see these in action. 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.”
E-Stor systems can also be used for load management on industrial and commercial sites. They can be controlled by a sophisticated energy optimisation platform to provide complementary power at peak tariff times and work with onsite solar PV, or micro wind turbines, storing and releasing energy directly into site systems or generating a revenue stream by providing balancing services to the grid operator.