Renault Fluence Z.E. battery pack

Renault Fluence Z.E. battery pack

Eco2Charge is one of the latest EV projects in France, where the consortium led by Bouygues Energies & Services with seven partners (Actility, Alstom, CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission), Embix, Nexans, Renault, and the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines), aims to use end-of-life EV batteries at charging stations or other places.

"Eco2charge also aims at developing and marketing the components of the solution within three years. The project, with a budget of 13.2 million euros, is implemented with the support of the “Vehicle of the future” programme. “Vehicle of the future” is part of the “Investment for the Future” Programme (Programme des Investissements d’Avenir, or PIA) run by ADEME (French Agency for Environment and Energy Control) on behalf of the French government."

According to the press release, peak power usage from one hundred of the 3.7 kW charging spots could more than double the office or commercial building consumption (from 300 to 670 kW in a building with 600-1,000 occupants). Thanks to the use of battery packs at such large charging stations, power requirements could be much lower, which means a lower subscription cost.

The first Eco2Charge installations are planed at two office buildings near Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France - at Renault’s Technocenter and Bouygues Construction’s Challenger headquarters.

Eco2Charge will use batteries from Renault cars that lost some capacity.

Thomas Orsini, head of electric vehicle business development at Renault stated:

"It is a very cheap form of storage, as the cost of the batteries has already been written off for use in the vehicle."

Besides back-up power for charging stations, there will also be larger utility-scale power storage systems with about 50 recycled car batteries inside one container, which could be used as solar power stations or wind parks. Companies will be able to use many such containers at one place.

"The system could likewise be part of a grid-wide demand-response system, and in the future it should also be possible to not only temporarily stop drawing power from the grid, but also to feed back power into it at times of peak demand."

Here is a more detailed description of Eco2Charge:

An innovative collaboration aimed at turning locations equipped with EV charging facilities into full-fledged energy ecosystems

This collaborative innovation, coordinated by Bouygues Energies & Services, aims at turning locations equipped with EV charging facilities into full-fledged energy ecosystems in which power generation, storage and consumption constantly balance each other.

The system thus enables interaction between all components involved in energy management for a building. Smart energy management on premises is achieved by combining the following aspects:

  • Various power supply sources, whether local (renewable energy) or external
  • Power storage capacity
  • Needs of the building and its occupants
  • Disparate expectations of EV drivers
The objective is to provide users with the best EV charging service possible, while limiting the costs and energy impact of the building. Eco2charge project aims at demonstrating the relevance of this “SMART GRIDS” local loop for industrial and office buildings. At the same time, it can be directly transposed to an eco-district mesh.

What challenges does Eco2charge meet?

  • Usage challenge – The number of currently available EV charging stations and the conditions of use are not adequate to make drivers confident.
  • Financial challenge – How to make the installation of charging stations easy and affordable to encourage investment?
  • Energy challenge – he standard charging of an electric vehicle consumes about 3.7kW in 4 hours. The full and simultaneous charging of 100 EV’s would require doubling the total power capacity of an office or commercial building (to 670kW instead of 300kW for a building with 600-1,000 occupants), thus entailing a more expensive subscription cost and a high impact on the electrical grid, only for 2-3 hours a day.
Eco2charge’s answers

To meet these challenges, the Eco2charge project will allow the following:

  • Ensuring a high level of service for EV users and building/eco-district operators.
  • Minimizing infrastructure and electricity costs through:
    • The use of an innovative solution for local power storage
    • The modular deployment of smart charging facilities (using a connection solution that can be gradually extended without any civil engineering work)
    • Smart energy management for power consumption smoothing based on economic interest, grid stability requirements and, last but not least, users’ needs
  • Reducing the environmental footprint of a building by promoting:
    • The transition toward electric vehicles
    • The development of self-consumption
    • A circular economy in which EV batteries are reused to store power
Focus on 3 key points
  • Smart energy distribution to regulate usage and avoid peak loads and oversizing of the electric infrastructure of the building. The project will offer a solution of charging stations’ management to allow the EVs to be charged at various times of day depending on users’ needs (times of arrival and departure, charge level on arrival and required charge level for departure based on the distance to be travelled…). This solution will also be consistent with the overall energy management of the building (including power generation and consumption). The smart charging stations will in fact be connected to a central control system designed for overall energy optimisation in a building, in conjunction with local power consumption and renewable energy generation.
  • The development of a local energy storage system reusing “second-life” batteries after their primary use in an electric vehicle. In addition to the environmental value of extending battery use, this solution offers the advantage of leveraging advances in the automotive industry to make such systems affordable
  • The design of a smart and scalable charging station system to ensure access to all types of electric vehicles. This solution is extensible thanks to a modular architecture which allows more charging stations to be added cost-effectively, without any additional civil engineering work.

Furthermore, the collected usage data will allow the adjustment of EV charging modes and the development of new service offerings for users (including creation of customer accounts, information and booking, billing, etc.), in order to facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles through ease of use and confidence in charging systems.


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