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Renault introduce vehicle-to-grid charging

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Renault have rolled out a pilot scheme to test the feasibility of large-scale vehicle-to-grid (V2G) bi-directional charging technology. 

15 Renault Zoes are currently being used in the trial, with more planned to be unveiled across Europe later in the year
(Image via Groupe Renault)

The system will allow electric cars to discharge power from their batteries back into the grid - effectively turning your car into an energy storage system. 

A fleet of fifteen Renault Zoe vehicles are trialling the technology in Utrecht, the Netherlands and Porto Santo, a Portuguese island in the Madeira archipelago. Further tests are being planned in France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark.

Each car has been fitted with a reversible charger using alternating-current technology which can be used with existing charging terminals fitted out with “a simple, inexpensive adaptation”.

Renault claim that the technology will “greatly reduce the related cost of charging terminals”, while optimising renewable energy usage.

During peak times when renewable sources such as solar or wind farms generate more energy than is being used by the community, the car will be charged. When the wind stops or the sun goes down and there is more demand than energy being supplied, the car with discharge further energy back into the grid - reducing demand on additional energy from non-renewable sources. 

Renaults V2G cars will charge when there is excess power in the grid, then supply the grid with more power when there is more demand
(Image via Groupe Renault)

“With this initiative, Groupe Renault is fully fulfilling its role as a leader in electric mobility for all and as a player in the energy transition. Vehicle-to-grid charging is a key pillar of the smart electric ecosystems that Groupe Renault has set up,” said Gilles Normand, Groupe Renault’s director of electric vehicles. 

“We have chosen onboard technology that also optimises the cost of recharging stations and thus facilitate a large-scale development.”

In a statement, Renault said the aim of the pilot scheme was to “measure large-scale feasibility and potential gains”. They listed targets of the project as helping:

  • Underline the technical and economic advantages of an onboard solution in electric vehicles
  • Demonstrate - in concrete terms - the value of services provided for the local and national electricity grid, such as encouraging consumption of solar and wind energy, checking the grid’s frequency or tension and reducing infrastructure costs.
  • Work on the regulatory frameworks of a mobile energy-storage scheme, detecting any pitfalls in it and offering concrete solutions.
  • Establish common standards, the basic requirement for an industrial-scale roll-out.

The project is being supported by the Netherlands based company We Drive Solar, and Porto Santo energy provider Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira.

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