Renault and Powervault have formed a fresh partnership for reuse of electric vehicle (EV) batteries in home energy storage units. The collaboration will cut costs considerably — Renault reports the partnership will reduce the cost of a Powervault smart battery unit by 30%. That’s a tidy sum that might propel Powervault and home energy storage ahead with no turning back — to the tipping point of a mass-market rollout of home energy storage in the UK. We’ll see.
The trial will explore the technical performance of second-life batteries: “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 seeks to understand the customer reaction to home energy storage to develop a rollout strategy for the mass market.
Typically, the batteries used in electric vehicles are believed to have a “useful lifetime” of 8 to 10 years in the vehicles. “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 trial will be run with eligible customers of M&S Energy, plus social housing tenants and schools in the South East.”
Renault and Powervault — unlike Tesla CTO JB Straubel — seem convinced this is the way forward to make home energy storage cost competitive and widely adopted. Joe Warren, Managing Director of Powervault, said: “It’s only a matter of time before a Powervault becomes as common in [UK] households as a dishwasher.”
Renault, which also presumably looks to make more money off of its EV cars/batteries, provides more in its press release: “Powervault is an innovative home battery system, which enables homeowners to live smarter by increasing 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. The Powervault system sits at the heart of the smart home and the optimization of energy usage within it. 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.”
Renault’s reuse of EV batteries (before recycling) is also possibly a boon for the Renault EV drivers if it helps Renault to lower the cost of its EVs.
Nicolas Schottey, Program Director, EV batteries and infrastructures at Renault, said: “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 Powervault + Renault trial starts next month, July 2017, and goes for 1 full year (12 months).
Jonathan Hazeldine, Head of M&S Energy, comments: “With the Powervault trial, we now have a great opportunity to help our customers reduce their impact, and ultimately their energy bills, by understanding how we can make smart energy storage work for them.”
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