Renault Picks Nissan’s Pocket With Large Scale V2G Pilot

Renault has taken a ‘leaf’ out of its Alliance sibling Nissan’s strategy book with the launch of what it claims to be the world’s largest vehicle-to-grid technology (V2G) pilot.

While Nissan has been championing the V2G ecosystem for some time, including installing the capability into all its BEV products, Renault has now joined the party intending to trial the technology in both Portugal and the Netherlands. The scheme will deploy Renault’s method of placing reversible alternating current chargers inside the vehicle promising existing charging terminals need only a simple, inexpensive modification to be compliant with the new technology.

The French automaker will introduce a fleet of fifteen Zoe vehicles to Europe. Specifically, the cars will be introduced to Utrecht, in the Netherlands, in partnership with We Drive Solar, an electric car company using solar power for recharging; and on the Portuguese island of Porto Santo, together with local energy supplier Empresa de Electricidade da Madeira.

V2G is a method of using electrical energy stored in a car’s battery to supply the national grid when demand for energy is high. This means that, much like with photo-voltaic solar panels, the consumer can sell the unused energy back to the grid. A 2015 study found that an unspecified BEV could earn up to $454 a year for the owner of the car using V2G technology, meaning that over time, the money spent on the car could at least partially be earned back.

Understandably, Renault says this initial trial is to measure the effectiveness of V2G charging and, together with its partners, analyze the benefit to the national grid in both companies versus the expenditure and, then if the results are positive, roll it out more widely across Europe.

The key thing for V2G to take off is a common standard between the major automakers, something Renault admits in its press statement. If there’s no defined standard among the different companies, a car from one manufacturer won’t be able to access the same benefits as car from a rival, leading to increased costs for consumers, less competition, and increased costs for the various major car manufacturers across the world.

Finally, Renault states that work must be done on the regulations surrounding V2G if it is to be widely adopted by manufacturers and energy suppliers. Regulations can often be the thing which holds back innovation from occurring, so it is imperative a framework is laid out now, while the technology is still in its infancy, it is to succeed.

Gilles Normand, Renault’s director of electric vehicles, said: “Vehicle-to-grid charging is a key pillar of the smart electric ecosystems that Renault has set up. We have chosen on-board technology that also optimizes the cost of recharging stations and thus facilitate a large-scale development.”

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