Today, Renault announced today that it is launching its own new energy subsidiary to develop grid products. The French automaker says that ‘Renault Energy Services’ will function “much like a start-up” working with other energy companies.
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The subsidiary is closely linked to Renault electric vehicle effort.
Gilles Normand, Renault’s Senior Vice-President of Electric Vehicles, said about the announcement:
“The creation of Renault Energy Services marks an important step forward. Investing in smart grids is key to both reinforcing the lead we enjoy in the European electric vehicle market and accelerating the EV industry’s scale-up.”
Renault listed some of the initiatives that its new subsidiary will lead:
- Smart charging adjusts battery charging rates as a function of customers’ needs and the availability of electricity via the grid. Batteries are charged when supply exceeds demand, notably during renewable energy production peaks and when rates are at their cheapest.
In vehicle to grid systems, electric vehicles provide electricity to the grid during peak hours. In this way, not only do they benefit from the advantages of smart charging but they also serve as a means to temporarily store energy.
Even once their life as a power source for electric vehicles is over, EV batteries continue to be capable of storing a significant amount of energy. Renault is able to harness this energy, notably for the purposes of stationary energy storage. By giving batteries a second lease of life, Renault is today in a position where it can cover the full spectrum of energy storage needs, from individual homes to office buildings, factories, schools and apartment blocks, and even the charging of electric vehicles.
Earlier this year, Renault installed electric car charging stations powered by used EV battery packs. It could be a good example of a project that this new subsidiary could expand on.
Of course, that initiative will remind some people of Tesla’s own ‘Tesla Energy’ division and rightfully so. Renault is doing the right thing here and like Tesla, it is not only thinking about the energy consumption side (electric vehicles), but actually the energy generation and distribution that is feeding those electric vehicles.
The French automaker already had a few different pieces of the other side of the puzzle with the previously mentioned electric car charging stations powered by used EV battery packs, but also its own Tesla Powerwall competitor, which it launched earlier this year.
Its partner Nissan has also been a leader in vehicle-to-grid products and Renault could leverage their efforts in this space for their own EVs.
Now it looks like they could bring all those initiatives under one roof with ‘Renault Energy Services’.