Renault hasn't tackled the home-energy storage market to the degree its alliance partner Nissan has, but it has found another use for "second-life" batteries.

The French brand has worked with UK-based Connected Energy to install two electric-car DC fast-charging stations powered by second-life batteries.

Once the energy capacity of lithium-ion batteries has fallen to a point that they are no longer suitable to power vehicles, they still retain considerable capacity for use as energy storage.

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The electric-car charging stations use what is called "E-STOR" technology, which recharges the second-life batteries at low power but releases the charge at high power when motorists need to fast-charge their cars.

Solar or wind energy is used to charge the batteries without the need for any additional power from the traditional electricity grid.

Renault and Connected Energy note the solution is more cost-efficient than constructing a high-power connection to the electric grid.

2017 Renault Zoe

2017 Renault Zoe

As batteries are decommissioned from vehicle use, debates over the proper way to dispose of them have started to arise.

Some argue the batteries should be used in new applications, such as home energy storage—a route Nissan and BMW have taken.

Tesla sells a similar solution, but using new batteries rather than second-life units.

READ THIS: Used electric-car batteries should be recycled, not reused: report

Others argue recycling batteries is the better option because second-life batteries offer only reduced performance.

While the second-life batteries are a less expensive home-energy storage solution, their longevity and performance don't match that of fresh batteries.

Such recycling technologies as smelting are arguably the better option for decommissioned vehicle battery packs under this theory.


2017 Renault Zoe

2017 Renault Zoe

Eventually, the question will become more pressing as today's modern electric cars begin to approach the ends of their useful lives.

Electric-car batteries have an operational life of eight to 10 years, and Renault believes the Connected Energy approach offers the most relevant solution today.

CHECK OUT: BMW electric-car batteries to be used as home energy-storage devices

The first two electric-car charging stations were installed in Germany and Belgium, but plans for additional stations are being discussed, according to Connected Energy.

The company says it is discussing new projects in the UK itself and across Europe, and believes a wide-scale rollout of its charging station will be ready in the coming months.


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