Renault “could upgrade owners’ electric vehicles”

Renault ZOE (Image: Renault)
Renault ZOE (Image: Renault)
  •  Batteries could be swapped to boost range
  •  Also requires new control systems
  •  Customer demand and cost are key

Renault could offer upgrades to battery packs on some of its latest electric cars, the company’s EV boss has revealed.

The French manufacturer continues to push ahead with ambitious plans to dominate the electric vehicle market with the Twizy and Zoe, plus the fleet-focused Kangoo EV. However, with new battery technology likely to boost the range of cars within the next 18 months to two years, Renault has factored in the technical ability to swap the batteries and upgrade the control systems of the EVs it has already sold. This process could, in theory, be easier because Renault leases the batteries to owners instead of selling them outright.

The firm’s EV boss Beatrice Foucher told What Car?,

“The technical possibility [to upgrade the batteries] exists. I have asked the engineers to make sure this is the case. It’s not a simple upgrade, because you have increased energy density in the batteries and then the car’s electronics and control systems need to be upgraded to take that into account. However, it’s certainly achievable.

“What is more important is whether the customer demand is there,’
‘It could be that when we get down to the costs involved, buyers decide that they will trade in their 200km-range EV to get an all-new version with a 300km of range. Then we have the other car, which could be suitable for someone who knows they only need 200km – or who wants a cheaper entry point to the technology. There are all sorts of possibilities.”

Foucher does not believe that ‘range anxiety’ will be a problem for long enough to consider introducing a range extender (where a small petrol motor can supply charge to prevent a battery becoming completely depleted) to the line-up. BMW is introducing a range-extender i3 alongside its fully electric version, but Foucher said:

“We see what BMW is doing and it’s interesting, but I don’t think we will do it. Perhaps it makes it easier for people to switch to EVs for a short while, but this situation will pass quite quickly; the answer is greater range on the car and also a better infrastructure for charging, and these things are coming fast.”

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Trevor Larkum 4 years, 2 months ago.

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    Trevor Larkum

     Batteries could be swapped to boost range  Also requires new control systems  Customer demand and cost are key Renault could offer upgrades to batter
    [See the full post at: Renault “could upgrade owners’ electric vehicles”]



    This is great news. My dealer had already told me this was Renaults intention, but hearing it from a higher up is encouraging. And it seems like a no-brainer if you think about it. Cars have been becoming more and more like computers for a while now, and offering upgrades is very much part of that.



    Agreed. And of course the fact that we all lease our batteries makes the upgrade process much simpler, and therefore more likely to happen. Personally a 300km range would make the world of a difference to me.



    I’ve also been counting on the fact that the batteries can be “upgraded” to newer technology as it develops which will give us additional range. The only downside is longer charging times, but less frequently of course, so makes those longer journeys much more possible.



    300km would be awesome, but that will take a couple of years (about 9 or 10 at the current rate) before you can fit that in the same physical space as the current battery. But who knows, maybe a breakthrough will change all that.

    And if it takes longer to charge them, so be it, it will be more convenient!


    Trevor Larkum

    I like the sound of this idea, but I don’t believe it will happen. They’re struggling to sell the ZOE – why give the long range to an old model when you can keep it help sell your latest one?



    I think they might be announcing this now to spur sales today with this promise. And I don’t think they would risk their excellent reputation by promising such a thing and then not delivering.



    In the last week the dealer have given me another Zoe to drive around the charge points (EBG) in my area in order to see if the same fault, (“Battery Charging impossible” appears.It did appear in 3 out of six charge points and in the meantime my own car was checked and passed 100%.
    Could this proposed “upgrade” be connected?
    I wonder if at last we may also be looking at the arrival on the scene of Lithium Sulpher technology,apparantly half the price and twice the range?
    Lastly as mention before, is enough attention being given to the ballancing of the Zoe batteries,ie between 99 and 100% on the charger?
    I know Renault have their own internal network which the dealers only, have access to, but they don’t ask the right questions. I have the car 9 months,and get the impression that when I go in the front door of the dealership,people go out the back.
    Marketing and sales need to talk to customers and knock heads together,or a very bad press awaits the e car.


    Trevor Larkum

    Again, I wouldn’t hold your breath – this was a report of a conversation, there’s no official announcement. And it basically says when a 300km Renault EV becomes available they might look to help those of us with a 200km EV. There is no 300km EV announced yet, never mind in production, so it can’t appear until 2016 at the earliest.

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