All posts by Jo Pegram-Mills

Renault optimizes the lifecycle of its electric vehicle batteries

Renault pioneered the development of electric vehicles in Europe, and leads the European electric vehicle market today. The vehicle batteries are rented to customers, and have been since release of Renault’s very first electric vehicle. In this way, Renault keeps full control over the whole battery lifecycle, which is advantageous not only to customers but to the planet as well.

Renault was the first European automaker to believe in the all-electric vehicle. Back in 2009, Carlos Ghosn announced a strategy that was ambitious and unprecedented on the market: Groupe Renault would be offering a full range of affordable all-electric vehicles by 2012. The promise was kept, with release of a line-up of electric vehicles addressing a broad customer spectrum: ZOE, Kangoo ZE and Twizy, plus Master ZE later this year in Europe, and RSM SM3 ZE in Korea.

image: Groupe Renault

Circular economy and battery lifecycle

Some 93% of Renault’s electric vehicle customers rent the batteries that power their cars. Because Renault owns the batteries, it can optimize both the usage and the end-of-life phases in the battery lifecycle.

Renault electric vehicle batteries are managed to a three-stage circular-economy approach:

image: Groupe Renault

1) Optimum battery life in the car

Renault monitors the battery condition in real-time and can therefore ensure an optimum battery lifespan at the on-the-road phase.

Renault repair centres can also repair defective batteries in the vast majority of instances. And any batteries that do prove irreparable for in-vehicle use continue active service in stationary energy storage applications.

2) Battery reuse off the road

When a battery falls below 75% charge capacity and can no longer meet the demanding requirements of providing vehicle power, it can nevertheless continue to provide valuable energy storage service in less demanding applications. Since renewable energy sources such as solar panels have an inherently intermittent output, local production is optimized by storing the energy in batteries.
Renault is an active member of several national and European green energy projects that use electric vehicle batteries in this kind of stationary energy storage application.

3) Battery recycling

Renault implements a specific recycling process and works on improving its materials recovery practices, with partners such as Veolia.

Recycling starts with removing the battery’s cells (the electrochemical elements that store energy). The other battery materials are either reused or recycled through conventional processes. The cells are processed by specialist Renault partners using a hydro-metallurgical process for recovering metals such as copper, cobalt, nickel and lithium.

Read more: Groupe Renault via Fuel Included news

Renault Increased EV Sales By 56% In February, Thanks To New ZOE

Renault didn’t show any of the seasonal slowdown experience found elsewhere in Europe. In fact the French automaker noted one of its best months ever for EV sales in February.

In total, more than 3,100 electric cars were sold (excluding the Twizy), which was 56% more than year ago.

Image: Inside EVs

Compared alongside total Renault car sales, EVs held a 1.6% share during the month.

Despite Renault offering several models in its EV lineup, in reality there is ZOE and a few other asterisks…at least when it comes to sales. Last month ZOE deliveries amounted to roughly 2,850 registrations – up 75% year-over-year, while Kangoo Z.E., in second spot, barely exceeded 250.

With a 3,000+ monthly results, Renault should cross the all-time, 100,000 all-electric car sales mark (full size, excluding Twizy) in March or April. An impressive showing for really a Europe-only brand.

Source: Inside EVs via Fuel Included news

85% of drivers ‘more seriously’ considering EV thanks to Government investment

The majority (85%) of respondents to a survey by Venson Automotive Solutions say they are now ‘more seriously’ considering buying an electric vehicle (EV) or choosing one as a company car in light of investment from the motor industry, Government and major oil companies.

The Government recently announced that it is putting in place new measures to improve provision of EV charge points as part of the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill, and oil supermajors Total and Shell have said that they will be making charging points a standard feature at fuel stations.

Although the commitment by industry and Government to remove purchasing barriers is having a positive influence, the survey also highlights that a focus on educating motorists on the ownership benefits – over and above the environmental benefits – is still needed.

Around two-fifths (41%) of the 100 drivers that responded to the survey said their general lack of knowledge about the total cost or convenience of owning such a vehicle impacted their decision making so Venson is urging fleet managers to arm employees with the tools needed to make an informed company car ownership choice.

Venson’s survey findings reported that the lack of charge points across the UK has been the biggest deterrents for motorists (69%), when it comes to buying or choosing an electric vehicle. Limited mileage range came second (61%), with the cost of charging the vehicle (42%) in third place.

Women (31%) were more reluctant than men (15%) to consider buying or leasing an EV because of the lack of opportunity to ‘try before you buy’.  The cost of insuring an EV is one of the lowest concerns, with only 19% of motorists seeing this as a deterrent and battery safety fears the least of motorists’ EV worries.

Alison Bell, marketing director of Venson Automotive Solutions, said:

“It’s really encouraging to see that public attitudes to electric vehicles are significantly shifting, as the industry invests in the necessary infrastructure. Clearly, Total and Shell’s move to install more charging points is critical in giving motorists the confidence when it comes to choosing EV or hybrid.”

Source: FleetLeasing via Fuel Included news

How I’m saving a small fortune on my commute with an Electric Car

Receiving my monthly bill from Chargemaster makes me happy. Let me explain….

Chargemaster Plc is the company that provides the majority of Milton Keynes electric car charging points and since I only charge publicly I am billed by them for all of my ‘fuel’ consumption.

Working in Central Milton Keynes, I am lucky to have a vast network of charging points available to me, I charge mostly during my working day, as and when I need to. I also benefit from free parking under the Green Permit Scheme which covers all standard bays (purple) and some premium bays (red), both can be found across the city centre area.

Last month’s bill really did highlight to me the huge cost savings owning an Electric Car has given me, and why every commuter in Central Milton Keynes should consider getting one.

Check this out…

Petrol Car

Electric Car

Fuel cost per day

£3 (approx.)*

£0.71**

Parking

£18 (£2 per hr x9)

£0

Total cost per day for parking & fuel

£21

£0.71

Total for the period

(11 working days)

 

 

£231

Estimated

£17.20

Actual cost billed by Chargemaster PLC

(inclusive of Polar subscription fee)

Averaged over a working year (261 days)

£5,481

£408.11

*Based on my 15 mile round trip commute @ 20p per mile.

** Averaged daily cost from bill, includes ALL mileage not just commutable distance.

Source: Fuel Included blog

Spring has sprung and it’s not just my Renault ZOE that’s smiling

Summer is on its way, the sun is shining and I’m full of energy, much like my Renault ZOE.

On a beautiful sunny day last week, I returned to my fully charged electric car, did my usual reset of ‘Trip B’ on the right hand stalk and looked at my estimated range – it gave me a lovely reading of 89 miles (22kWh ZOE).

Although winter range isn’t a big problem (us eco warriors are made of sterner stuff), there is something quite satisfying when you see the estimated range increase by about 15 miles, simply because it’s warm and sunny outside, and it’s still only spring.

I’m told the range increases because chemical reactions work better at higher temperatures, and obviously a chemical reaction must take place to create energy. But I quite like to imagine my Renault ZOE as a true sun worshipper, rejoicing in the change of season.

Source: Fuel Included blog