EVs Get a Charge from Recycled Batteries

September 25, 2014 By Karen Henry

renault ev-energy-manageThe Eco2charge group, led by the French construction company Bouygues with car maker Renault, electrical engineering group Alstom and cable maker Nexans, has developed a multi-vehicle electric car charging system made from end-of-life Renault EV lithium-ion batteries, Reuters reports. The system works as a power storage bank that can absorb electricity at night and gradually charge vehicles during the day, enabling dozens of vehicles to charge at the same time.

Bouygues and Renault piloted the $16.8 million project at two sites. The Eco2charge group plans to begin selling the system in about a year, targeting office buildings, parking lots, campuses and other sites where fleets of electric cars can park.

The charging system will work for any type of electric vehicle.

Renault sells electric cars but rents the batteries to their owners. As a result, the auto manufacturer owns and manages about 47,000 batteries. Once the batteries have lost 20 to 25 percent of their charging capacity, they are no longer used in cars but still have enough charging power for stationary power storage, the article explains.

Renault is exploring the possibility of using the same concept to develop a utility-scale power storage system. In such a system, as many as 50 recycled car batteries would be assembled into a single container and store excess power from solar power stations or wind farms. It could also be used as part of a grid-wide, demand-response system.

The Eco2charge group is not the first to use EV batteries as a power-storage system. Japan-based Sumitomo developed a 600-kW, commercial-scale storage system that utilizes used batteries collected from electric vehicles.

Photo via Shutterstock.

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