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E-STOR breathes second life into EV charging network

2016 Renault Zoe and E-STOR Source: Renault

Groupe Renault and Connected Energy have announced a partnership using second-life batteries at EV charging points.

The partnership recycles Renault batteries and uses them as in new, static energy storage solutions. Prototypes have already been successfully installed at two locations in Belgium and Germany.

Ireland-based Connected Energy has developed the E-STOR system whereby old batteries are charged at low power so energy can be released at high power. Normally, EV batteries would be scrapped after eight to ten years of use despite still being capable of holding up to 70% of initial charge capacity. However, Renault wants to change this practice by re-appropriating these batteries as stand-alone energy storage.

Connected Energy was developed by Future Transport Systems in order to decarbonise the grid through static and mobile energy storage. Head of Renault’s Electric Vehicle Batteries and Charging Infrastructures Program, Nicolas Schottey, promises that E-STOR will “simplify the daily life of electric vehicle drivers. Moreover, it is a perfect example of circular economy implementation.” As such, E-STOR should enable more remote or smaller locations to provide EV charging and is intended to combat prohibitive and costly high power connection to the grid.

Indeed, Renault has already partnered with PowerVault to roll out 50 prototypes across various parts of the UK. The E-STOR system has been offered to various parties from the UK and Europe and could supplement Britain’s introduction of new measures to encourage the uptake of EVs. Motor Fuel Group and ChargePoint Services have been tasked to assist in the mandatory installation of electric car chargers at motorway services and petrol stations. Smaller brands, not already covered by the agreement, could still offer EV charging and this might be useful for more rural areas.  Similarly, businesses could deploy the E-STOR system for use by customers and clients.  Nevertheless, Managing Director at Connected Energy, Matthew Lumsden, confirmed that the system will be widely deployed in the next few months.

Renault hasn’t given any information on the scalability of the system but it is a likely feature.  Indeed, Connective Energy already provides its own scalable 50kWh and 100kWh battery packs, suggesting that the partnership will continue this.

E-STOR can also be used in “load management for use on industrial and commercial sites.” The intention is that the system will be able to supplement power supply at peak tariff times with a “sophisticated energy optimisation platform”. It seems that the platform involves integration with solar and wind energy system so that any financial losses brought on by exporting to the grid would be avoided.

Evidently, the promises made of E-STOR sound exciting. However, high power energy storage systems are not new and there are several competitors. Renault and Connected Energy need to confirm scalability details of the E-STOR system and would be wise to look into exactly where charging infrastructure is lacking. Yet, any system whereby energy costs are reduced are likely to be widely welcomed and should certainly benefit rural communities, industrial spaces, and small businesses.

 

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