Belle-Île-en-Mer residents can hire Renault ZOE and Kangoo ZE EVs
Groupe Renault has unveiled a brand new joint project known as FlexMob’île, in association with its partners, the Belle-Île-en-Mer Community of Communes, Morbihan Energies, Les Cars Bleus and Enedis.
The aim of this smart electric ecosystem is to facilitate the energy transition on the French island of Belle-Île-en-Mer, which lies off the coast of southern Brittany. This initiative follows in the footsteps of the innovative Smart Fossil Free Island programme that has been operational since last February on the Portuguese island of Porto Santo in the Madeira archipelago.
For the next two years, Groupe Renault and its public and private partners will be developing a smart electric ecosystem that has been conceived to reduce the island’s carbon footprint and increase its energy independence.
“Our goal is the same as with Porto Santo. That is to say, the implementation of global solutions that meet local needs using both tried-and-tested and more recent technologies. It will be possible to carry over the Belle-Île-en-Mer system not just to other islands but also to cities and suburban areas,” says Renault electric vehicle division senior vice-president Gilles Normand.
Frédéric Le Gars, who presides over the Belle-Île-en-Mer community of communes, added: “When Morbihan Energies CEO Jo Brohan explained the project to me, I knew that, along with Renault, we needed to be a key player in this innovative scheme to build a new sustainable mobility ecosystem.”
From 2019, Belle-Île-en-Mer residents and visitors to the island will have access to a fleet of electric cars by means of a self-service hire programme featuring Renault ZOE and Kangoo ZE. These vehicles will be powered thanks to a network of charging stations located close to the island’s main attractions.
This new car-sharing service will take advantage of surplus energy produced by solar panels installed on the roofs of the island’s main public buildings. “The smart charging system will let us activate electric car charging whenever a building produces more energy than it actually needs,” explained Normand.
For instance, solar panels on the school’s rooftop provide heat and lighting for classrooms during the week, while the energy produced at weekends or during school holidays will be used to charge the cars.
By promoting the use of locally-produced renewable energy, FlexMob’île will offer the island’s economic stakeholders enhanced flexibility while at the same time promising substantial savings.
For example, Groupe Renault plans to provide second-life electric car batteries for the island’s largest holiday residences facility. These batteries will be used to store energy produced during the day by solar panels for use in the evening, chiefly to heat the bungalows. This should allow the centre to extend its season which until now has been restricted by central heating costs.