Renault optimizes the lifecycle of its electric vehicle batteries

Renault pioneered the development of electric vehicles in Europe, and leads the European electric vehicle market today. The vehicle batteries are rented to customers, and have been since release of Renault’s very first electric vehicle. In this way, Renault keeps full control over the whole battery lifecycle, which is advantageous not only to customers but to the planet as well.

Renault was the first European automaker to believe in the all-electric vehicle. Back in 2009, Carlos Ghosn announced a strategy that was ambitious and unprecedented on the market: Groupe Renault would be offering a full range of affordable all-electric vehicles by 2012. The promise was kept, with release of a line-up of electric vehicles addressing a broad customer spectrum: ZOE, Kangoo ZE and Twizy, plus Master ZE later this year in Europe, and RSM SM3 ZE in Korea.

image: Groupe Renault

Circular economy and battery lifecycle

Some 93% of Renault’s electric vehicle customers rent the batteries that power their cars. Because Renault owns the batteries, it can optimize both the usage and the end-of-life phases in the battery lifecycle.

Renault electric vehicle batteries are managed to a three-stage circular-economy approach:

image: Groupe Renault

1) Optimum battery life in the car

Renault monitors the battery condition in real-time and can therefore ensure an optimum battery lifespan at the on-the-road phase.

Renault repair centres can also repair defective batteries in the vast majority of instances. And any batteries that do prove irreparable for in-vehicle use continue active service in stationary energy storage applications.

2) Battery reuse off the road

When a battery falls below 75% charge capacity and can no longer meet the demanding requirements of providing vehicle power, it can nevertheless continue to provide valuable energy storage service in less demanding applications. Since renewable energy sources such as solar panels have an inherently intermittent output, local production is optimized by storing the energy in batteries.
Renault is an active member of several national and European green energy projects that use electric vehicle batteries in this kind of stationary energy storage application.

3) Battery recycling

Renault implements a specific recycling process and works on improving its materials recovery practices, with partners such as Veolia.

Recycling starts with removing the battery’s cells (the electrochemical elements that store energy). The other battery materials are either reused or recycled through conventional processes. The cells are processed by specialist Renault partners using a hydro-metallurgical process for recovering metals such as copper, cobalt, nickel and lithium.

Read more: Groupe Renault

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