Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Renault increases activity in smart grid sector

Steve Rogerson
October 10, 2017

French car maker Renault has created the Renault Energy Services subsidiary to have an active presence in the energy and smart grid sectors, both of which are fundamental to the expansion of electric mobility.
The subsidiary will function much like a start-up and its objective is to invest in smart grid-related projects by forging ties with the energy industry’s stakeholders. It will focus chiefly on the development of smart charging, vehicle-to-grid interaction and second-life batteries.
“The creation of Renault Energy Services marks an important step forward,” said Gilles Normand, senior vice president for electric vehicles at Renault. “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.”
Thanks to the subsidiary, Groupe Renault intends to make a real contribution to the expansion of smart charging networks which, by facilitating the communications of data, can make real-time adjustments to the supply of electricity for more-efficient management of resources. Renault electric vehicles connected to smart grids should benefit from more economical, lower-carbon electricity.
In addition to permitting the development of smart charging, smart grids favour both interaction between electric vehicles and networks (vehicle to grid) and projects involving second-life batteries.
Smart charging adjusts battery charging rates as a function of users’ 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 store energy temporarily.
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 says it can harness this energy, notably for the purposes of stationary energy storage. By giving batteries a second lease of life, Renault is 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.