Connected Energy and Renault to collaborate on energy storage and EV charging technology; second-life batteries in E-STOR
Renault and distributed energy storage company Connected Energy are partnering to develop sustainable and efficient ways of using electric vehicle batteries at the end of their useable in-vehicle life in order to supply innovative and more affordable vehicle charging solutions.
At the end of their useful in-vehicle life, Renault EV batteries still have considerable remaining capacity, enabling them to server in other applications before recycling. With increasing EV sales—97,687 EVs were sold in Europe in 2015, up 48% on 2014—so is the requirement in energy to charge them. Connected Energy is addressing both issues through use of second-life EV batteries in its E-STOR technology.
|Connected Energy Ltd. E-STOR diagram. Click to enlarge.|
This can be used, for example, to store energy generated from on-site renewable generation resources such as solar panels and wind turbines, and then release it as needed at a later time. The system also allows the batteries to be charged via low-cost off-peak electricity tariffs, enabling users to reduce their energy costs.
The batteries used are Renault EV batteries, chosen by Connected Energy because Renault, as EV market leader with 23,000 units sold in Europe in 2015, has expertise in the technology, its lifecycle and impact on the environment.
The first E-STOR product is nominally rated at 50kW/50kWh which could typically be used to support one rapid charger or a cluster of fast chargers but the system is fully scalable and higher capacity units will follow. E-STOR will be available in the UK from July 2016.
|E-STOR and Renault ZOE. Click to enlarge.|
In practical terms, as well as allowing more efficient use of energy, the system can also enable installation of rapid electric vehicle charging in sites where electricity supply would traditionally only allow slower rates.
Instead of charging vehicles via a high-capacity supply directly from the grid, E-STOR allows multiple batteries to be charged at a slower rate over a period of time, ready to release their energy and charge a car when an EV driver needs it.
In June 2015, E-STOR was named winner of the innovation category in the British Renewable Energy Awards 2015, hosted by the Renewable Energy Association.
In 2015, Renault was the best performing EV brand in Europe, with sales rising 49% to 23,086 units, with a 23.6% European EV market share. It was a similar story in the UK, with ZOE sales up 102% in 2015 to 2,053 vehicles – significantly outpacing the UK electric vehicle market, which was up 48% on 2014.
Connected Energy was set up by parent company Future Transport Systems to commercialize a range of technologies and services developed through in-house research and development activity. Both companies are UK SMEs with offices in Newcastle upon Tyne and Norfolk.