(REPOST: Internet of Business)

Renault is Europe’s number one EV manufacturer: sales of the Renault Zoe in Europe grew 15 percent in 2016 to 21,240 units, ahead of the Nissan Leaf (18,310 units sold) and the Tesla S Model (11,564 units).

Powervault, meanwhile, has developed a smart home battery system that enables homeowners to store energy from their own solar panels but can also automatically store using low-cost, off-peak energy from the grid. This combination, the company claims, can save homeowners up to 35 percent on their electricity bills.

Second life

The batteries used in EVs typically have a lifetime of around eight to 10 years, but once retired from vehicular use, can still be used in stationary applications – such as home energy storage, for example. In this way, they become what is known as ‘second life’ batteries.

According to Nicolas Schottey, program director of EV batteries and infrastructures at Renault, they could have as much as another 10 years of additional useful life in a Powervault system. These second life battery packs, he explained, are removed from vehicles, unpacked and graded before Powervault make them into smaller battery packs for their own devices.

The partnership with Renault, according to Powervault, will reduce the cost of one of its smart battery units significantly. For example, a brand-new 2kWh (kilowatt-hour) Lithium-ion Powervault typically costs customers around £4,000 – but if second-life batteries are used, the price drops to £3,000.

Powervault is placing 50 trial units, powered by second-life batteries provided by Renault, in the homes selected customers of M&S Energy (part of high-street retailer Marks & Spencer), as well as social housing tenants and schools.

The company says 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.

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