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Renault and Powervault in EV battery “second-life” partnership trial

In the UK, Renault and Powervault are partnering to re-use electric vehicle (EV) batteries in home energy storage units. This partnership will reduce the cost of a Powervault smart battery unit by 30%, helping Powervault to bring home energy storage to the tipping point of mass-market roll-out in the UK.

Powervault is placing 50 trial units, powered by second-life batteries provided by Renault, in the homes of customers who already have solar panels installed. The trial will explore the technical performance of second-life batteries as well as customer reaction to home energy storage to help develop a roll-out strategy for the mass-market. The trial will be run with eligible customers of M&S Energy, plus social housing tenants and schools in the South East.

Powervault is an innovative home battery system, which enables homeowners to increase their ability to store and use the solar energy freely-generated from their own solar panels. Powervault units can also automatically charge using low-cost, off-peak energy from the grid. As well as reducing the cost of production of a Powervault, the use of second-life batteries will also optimize the life-cycle of the Renault batteries before they are recycled.

Thanks to this home energy storage partnership with Powervault, Renault is adding a new element into its global strategy for second life batteries, which already covers a large number of usages from industrial to residential building and districts. The second life use not only gives additional life to electric vehicle batteries before they are recycled, but also allow consumers to save money.

—Nicolas Schottey, Program Director, EV batteries and infrastructures at Renault

As the leader in electric vehicles in Europe, Renault contributes to the energy transition through the re-use of its EV batteries for stationary energy storage. The batteries used in electric vehicles usually have a lifetime of 8 to 10 years, Renault says. However, there is still plenty of useful life in these batteries for stationary applications—giving the batteries an additional life before they are recycled.

Within a Powervault home battery system, Renault batteries are estimated to have up to 10 years of additional useful life. Second-life battery packs are removed from the electric vehicles, unpacked and graded before Powervault make them into smaller battery packs for their application.

The Powervault second life trial will start in July 2017 and last 12 months. The 50 units in the trial will be divided between the homes of M&S Energy customers, plus Hyde residents, as well as social housing tenants and schools in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, via Solarcentury. M&S Energy will be contacting eligible customers to discuss their interest in participating in the trial.

This week, Powervault is launching a crowd-funding campaign on CrowdCube, inviting investors to acquire a stake in this rapidly growing business. Powervault is aiming to raise equity to accelerate the mainstream roll-out of Powervaults across the UK. A ready-made market of over 800,000 homes1 is already in place for home energy storage products, based on the high adoption rates of solar PV in the UK.

The roll-out of smart meters and associated smart energy tariffs will enable a Powervault to make any of the 26 million homes in the UK smarter, regardless of the presence of solar panels, by storing electricity when it is cheap and using it at times when it is more expensive. Second-life batteries are one part of Powervault’s strategy to dominate the UK home energy storage market by offering the best return on investment for customers. Powervault’s business plan sees it selling 30,000 units by 2020, which equates to 15,000 EV car batteries.

In the period January-May 2017, the UK registered 6,228 battery-electric vehicles, according to SMMT.


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