“Giving a second life to our electric car batteries”

Published by Elsa Launay on 06.27.2018 - 5 min

Amaury Gailliez is Director of Charging and Battery Operations for the Groupe Renault. What’s one of his main tasks? Giving a second life to your electric car battery, often for stationary use.

What’s your department’s role in managing batteries?

We are responsible for batteries, from their use in the car up until the end of their lifecycle. This includes its financing — whether the customer chooses to buy it or lease it — its guarantee, etc. Your battery can be repaired at the Renault Flins factory repair centre. And when a battery can no longer be used in a car, we take it back and give it a second life. We also recycle your battery. For example, if a battery is damaged in an accident, we remove it from the vehicle at an approved extrication centre, which is not an easy task since an electric vehicle battery weighs between 200 and 300 kg.

How can a Renault electric vehicle battery be reused?

A battery is often repurposed for stationary use, which requires less power than a car. A battery is often reused in private residences or in larger public buildings. For the most part, they are used to store energy from local solar panels or wind turbines. A battery charges when the sun shines and the wind blows, so that no kilowatt of green — and free — electricity is lost!
We also use second-life batteries to boost certain electric vehicle charging stations. This is the case for quick-charging terminals along the motorway, which need a lot of energy over a short period of time. The operators of these terminals can therefore reduce their energy costs. Two such stations are up and running in Germany and Belgium.
There are also other potential uses for the TEN electrical transport network. Their goal is to manage the electric supply-demand balance in order to keep the network stabilised at 50 Hertz.
Finally, we even find ways to keep a battery working! They are used in the Kangoo Z.E. and ZOE cooling systems, or in electric-powered boats.

Why should we give a battery a second life?

The main reason is to reduce the battery’s environmental impact. Instead of using the battery for only about ten years inside a car, it is given a second life of at least another 10 years. This makes it possible to postpone the need to recycle. In addition, the repurposed battery is often used to store green electricity, which favours the rise of renewable energies.
There is also an economic impact. This second life gives added value to the battery. This is important for making electric vehicles more and more affordable.
Companies that choose to buy a second-life battery from us are also getting a deal since they are paying about 30% less than they would for a new battery for stationary use. These are very robust batteries, designed in line with demanding specifications. Once the storage system has been developed, our batteries are immediately adapted to stationary mode.

Which are Renault’s main partners when it comes to second-life batteries?

We’ll give you 2 examples. We have a partnership with Powervault in the UK for supplying batteries to private residences. We also took part in the European ELSA project (Energy Local Storage Advanced System), in partnership with other players such as Nissan and Bouygues Energies and Services. This system is being tested at six European sites and could eventually provide electricity for cities or even stores.

Most viewed articles