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    Renault to sell electricity from recycled EV batteries

    Creating a market for used power cells

    June 11, 2017

    Renault-Nissan, the strategic partnership between France’s automobile manufacturer Renault and Japan’s Nissan, is working with energy storage specialist The Mobility House to develop a ‘mega battery’ built from new or used electric car batteries. The move has the potential to effectively reduce the ownership cost of electric vehicles (EV) by creating a secondary recycling market for used lithium-ion batteries that might otherwise be scrapped.

    The Renault-Nissan mega battery is a power plant that will generate enough electricity for 120,000 homes, or supplement a gas- or coal-fired power station in meeting peak electricity demand on the grid, according to the Reuters article below.

    EV competitor Tesla is building what it terms a ‘Gigafactory‘ with Japanese partners, including Panasonic. The objective is to produce high volumes of batteries at lower cost by using economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, and reduction of waste – all optimized under one factory roof. The Gigafactory will be powered by renewable energy sources with the goal of achieving net zero energy.

    The Renault-Nissan power storage plant will function as one huge battery, while Tesla’s is a manufacturing plant that makes large numbers of  Li-ion batteries for electric cars. Like rival Tesla’s energy storage business, the Renault-Nissan move underscores its desire to cultivate a second-hand battery market while encouraging the development of energy infrastructure that works for electric cars.

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    Renault to sell electricity from recycled EV batteries

    The new battery of the Renault electric car Z.E. is displayed on media day at the Paris auto show, in Paris, France, September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

    By Christoph Steitz and Edward Taylor

    Reuters

    Renault-Nissan is drawing up plans to build a 100 megawatt power storage plant in Europe, sources told Reuters, hoping to give electric car batteries a second life in a project that could eventually compete with utility companies.

    Like rival Tesla’s energy storage business, the Renault-Nissan move underscores its desire to cultivate a second-hand battery market while encouraging the development of energy infrastructure that works for electric cars.

    The Renault-Nissan alliance plant, which has yet to be built, would be big enough to power 120,000 homes, or supplant the role of a gas- or coal-fired power station in meeting peak electricity demand on the grid, the sources said.

    Rather than generating power, a storage plant charges up in times of excess supply and sells electricity back to the grid when needed. Proponents say such plants can play a key role in smoothing out unpredictable wind and solar power generation.

    Renault-Nissan is working in partnership with energy storage specialist The Mobility House on the mega battery which would be assembled from new or used electric car batteries, one of the sources said.

    “We’re working with The Mobility House on several programs including a major energy storage project that is currently still in the study phase,” Renault spokeswoman Celine Farissier said, declining to give further details.

    Makers of electric cars stand to benefit from the creation of a market for used lithium-ion batteries that can no longer power vehicles to drive far enough. Higher second-hand battery values could help bring down the cost of electric cars and mega batteries are one avenue for recycling the power cells.