From “Groupe Renault Adds New Renault Energy Services Unit” by Steve Hanley, 2017
Groupe Renault, Europe’s number one manufacturer of electric vehicles, has created a new business entity — Renault Energy Services — to pursue the development of smart grids and energy systems that support the transition to electrically powered vehicles. Renault Energy Services will focus primarily on the development of smart charging, vehicle-to-grid interaction, and second life batteries.
Renault smart grid planGilles Normand, Renault’s senior vice president for electric vehicles, says, “The creation of Renault Energy Services marks an important step forward. 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.”
Using real-time data from multiple sources, smart grids make adjustments in real time to the supply of electricity for more efficient management of resources. For instance, if there is a momentary surge in demand, a smart grid can reduce the current draw of an electric car, water heater, or air conditioner briefly to balance the grid.
In virtually all cases, customers will never notice the change, but when applied to thousands or even tens of thousands of items plugged into the grid simultaneously, the total effect can make starting up a peaker plant to handle the extra load unnecessary.
That saves utility companies money. Some of those savings can then be passed on to customers who participate in a smart grid program. Smart grids are also essential to re-purposing electric car batteries that are no longer suitable for propulsion into electrical storage duties for homes and businesses. By responding to input from the grid, the batteries can soak up excess power when available and pump electrons back into the grid as needed.
As part of this, Renault now has a new smart charging business in its hands. More on that shortly.
Maybe Renault is following the path blazed by Tesla, but at least it is doing something while other manufacturers fiddle and dither with new internal combustion engine technology to meet tightening standards. It’s fair to say that the Renault-Nissan Alliance gets it, where many of its competitors do not.