FIRST TESLA NOW RENAULT BLURS THE LINE BETWEEN ENERGY AND CARS

FIRST TESLA NOW RENAULT BLURS THE LINE BETWEEN ENERGY AND CARS

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FIRST TESLA NOW RENAULT BLURS THE LINE BETWEEN ENERGY AND CARS

The nature of electric vehicles is much closer related to its energy source than that of combustion vehicles. Historically auto companies, as a rule, stayed out of the production of their fuel source. Since the introduction of the Power Wall and acquisition of Solar City analysts refer to Tesla as an energy company, rather than an automotive company. Now Renault wants to mimic Tesla‘s business model through the creation of a new subsidiary, Renault Energy Services, which is to specialize in energy, smart grids, and electric mobility.

Renault sees the energy and smart grid sectors as fundamental to the expansion of electromobility. The new subsidiary will focus primarily on the development of smart charging, V2G (vehicle to grid) interaction and second-life batteries by collaborating with theRenault-energy-service-ecosystem energy sector or investing in smart-grid related projects.

Gilles Normand, SVP, of Electric Vehicles at Renault said – “The creation of Renault Energy Services marks an important step forward. Investing in smart grids is key to both reinforcing the lead we enjoy in the European electric vehicle market and accelerating the EV industry’s scale-up.”

Renault sees the benefit flowing to its EV customers as Renault electric vehicles connected to smart grids will be able to pay less electricity through optimized charging.

Although it’s not a new phenomenon for auto companies to invest in energy networks for charging, the commitments were more a necessity enforced by regulation and customers than a profitable venture. Renaults move to focus on smart grids through a subsidiary would be one of the first to focus on new business profits from energy. It will by no means be the last where we see auto companies and energy providers play in the same sandbox.

The EV snowball is getting bigger by the day.

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RENAULT NISSAN TO BUILD AN INTERCONNECTED EV FOR CHINA

RENAULT NISSAN TO BUILD AN INTERCONNECTED EV FOR CHINA

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RENAULT NISSAN TO BUILD AN INTERCONNECTED EV FOR CHINA

The Renault Nissan Alliance and Dongfeng Motor Group forged a partnership to co-develop electric vehicles in China according to a press release by Nissan. The new JV company is called eGT New Energy Automotive Co and will focus on the core competencies of each to produce EVs for the Chinese market. The first vehicle by eGT will be an A-segment SUV based on the Renault Nissan platform and is expected in 2019. The vehicle will be an intelligent and interconnected EV, which is the new rage in China. Alibaba and SAIC released the first successful mass-market interconnected car last year, the Roewe eRX5 SUV. Since then various other companies and start-ups, such as XPENG, announced strategies to focus purely on interconnected vehicles.

“This project is the result of a joint effort to develop electric vehicles for the Chinese market, by the ‘Golden Triangle’ formed by Dongfeng, Renault, and Nissan, with an innovative business model,” said Zhu Yanfeng, Chairman of Dongfeng. “We expect to meet the transformation trend of the market in China; where cars are becoming light, electric, intelligent, interconnected and shared. This is also testimony of a deepened and strengthened strategic cooperation between the three parties.”

The new venture is owned 25% each by Renault and Nissan while Dongfeng will hold the remaining 50%. eGT will be headquartered in the City of Shiyan, Hubei Province and assembly of the EV will be done at the 120,000 capacity Dongfeng plant in Shiyan.

Renault-Nissan Alliance and Dongfeng Motor Group Co., Ltd. EV JV

 

The featured image does not represent the new EV but is that of the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder.

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Renault gives second-life to EV batteries

Renault gives second-life to EV batteries

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Renault and Powervault, the UK-based energy storage system manufacturer, announced a partnership to re-use electric vehicle (EV) batteries in home energy storage units. The saving to Powervault will make its storage system 30% cheaper, allowing its home storage system to become a financially viable solution to households across the UK.

Electric vehicle batteries are typically used until it depletes 20% of its capacity, after which it needs to be replaced, leaving a healthy portion of battery left for static battery applications, which are less demanding on the technology than the harsher requirements of transport applications. Typically an EVs battery can handle between 2,000 and 5,000 cycles or more depending on which supplier and what cell chemistry is used in the battery. BAIC models, for instance, using a LiFePO4 (Lithium Phosphate) based battery, guarantee 2000 cycles while the first Chevrolet Volt’s listed 5000 cycles. The Chevrolet Volt, however, electronically limits that only 65% of the battery is made available to the car to protect the battery, so to compare apples to apples, it would be better to compare throughput as appose to cycles.

Renault has already sold over 100,000 electric vehicles between its Zoe, Twizy, Kangoo and Fluence models, of which 25,000 are older than four years. Renault’s EV business model includes leasing its batteries to customers. Extending the usage of its batteries through a second-life application will provide Renault with a better return on investment and hopefully in future bring down the price of batteries faster.

According to the press release, Powervault will place 50 units on trail at existing customers who already have the company’s 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.

The relatively high cost of Home Storage Systems has until recently made little financial sense, with payback periods from savings overshooting the useful life of the system. Bringing system cost down to an acceptable payback of between five and seven years is seen as the holy grail for system manufacturers and homeowners.

Other EV manufacturers have already pursued business plans for second life batteries in Battery Home Systems with or without Solar. In June 2016 Nissan and Eaton installed an Energy Storage Solution in France, created from “second life” Nissan Leaf batteries. Nissan installed the Energy Storage Solution at WEBaxys, a data center. In the same month, BMW announced that it would follow Daimler, Nissan, and Tesla in creating second life energy storage systems for residential and commercial use. Second life battery systems would not have the same warranties as new systems.

Extending the life of EV batteries will also result in lower recycling related cost and overall optimize the use of the battery. Second Life applications and applications such as Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), where an EV owner sells power back to the grid, makes electric vehicles much more appealing and blows in the face of the technologies detractors.

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