While the batteries that power modern electric vehicles typically last eight or ten years, after that they still retain a valuable capacity that can be repurposed for other means. One carmaker with a keen interest in the area is Renault, who has just announced a partnership with UK company Powervault that will see batteries from its electric vehicles put to use in energy storage systems for the home.
Powervault is a company that develops and sells storage systems for solar-powered homes in the UK. By using Renault's old EV batteries in these units, it says the cost of each will be reduced by 30 percent and perhaps bring these types of home energy storage systems to the brink of a mass market rollout.
Such a feat is still far off, however. To begin with, 50 of the units will be trialled in homes with solar panels already installed. This trial will be used to test the technical performance of the recycled batteries, along with gauging customer sentiment towards the system to help inform a wider-scale roll out later on.
Renault has been active in this area for a little while, showing off a delivery van back in 2015 that was powered by second-life batteries taken from decommissioned electric cars. Nissan, meanwhile, is another carmaker pushing things forward, incorporating used Leaf batteries into energy storage units and even using them to help power a data center in France.
The Powervault trial will kick off in July and run for twelve months.