Renault Discusses Possibility of Battery Upgrades For Its Current EVs

MAR 25 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 10

Renault’s EV head honcho Beatrice Foucher was quoted by What Car? as saying the following in relation to current Renault electric vehicle owners being able to upgrade batteries in the future:

Renault Kangoo Z.E. in Delivery Van White

Renault Kangoo Z.E. in Delivery Van White

“The technical possibility [to upgrade the batteries] exists. I have asked the engineers to make sure this is the case. It’s not a simple upgrade, because you have increased energy density in the batteries and then the car’s electronics and control systems need to be upgraded to take that into account. However, it’s certainly achievable.”

“What is more important is whether the customer demand is there.  It could be that when we get down to the costs involved, buyers decide that they will trade in their 200km-range EV to get an all-new version with a 300km of range. Then we have the other car, which could be suitable for someone who knows they only need 200km – or who wants a cheaper entry point to the technology. There are all sorts of possibilities.”

Possible?  Yes.

Probable?  No.

Even though Renault leases battery packs separate of the EV, the idea of swapping out current battery tech for future tech just isn’t going to become widely applicable.

Think about it for a second.  What would Renault rather do?

1.)  Lease the upgraded battery pack for perhaps twice the monthly rate of the current pack?

2.)  Sell you a new EV with the improved battery technology?

The answer is simple.

So, while Renault “could” offer this battery upgrade, we see it as being a near-impossible sell from a business standpoint for the automaker.  Consider this idea of upgrading your Renault EV battery to be beyond the realm of possible for now.

Source: What Car?

Categories: Battery Tech, Renault

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10 Comments on "Renault Discusses Possibility of Battery Upgrades For Its Current EVs"

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Aren’t rented batteries going to die in about three years and Renault will have to substitute them anyway?

Then since they anyway have to take it out and build a new one in, seems logical to offer a choice.

It is otherwise hard to believe that current Zoe buyers will be forced to throuw their cars away as the battery lease ends.

No. These batteries last for many years.

There will be whole a whole new set of possibilities with BEV’s as they get older and 2nd hand prices go down. Why should it be Renault that replaces the old battery why not someone else? If someone else can do it then why won’t Renault do it? Cars aren’t mobile phones if the battery dies you will put a new one in it if you go to your mechanic and he can offer you a Renault battery with 70 miles range for a certain price, a Japanese battery with 130 miles but for more money and a Chinese battery with a 50 mile range but that cost half as much which will you take? depends on the customer.

You can bet that Renault have tried to make it as hard as possible to swap battery manufacturers but eventually it should happen and it will be a whole heap easier than changing an engine.

I think they will have to from a commercial point of view. If their sister brand Nissan brings out a 150 mile Leaf, the 80 mile Zoe is dead…

Not lucrative for Renault – so, aftermarket? Hope they don’t bric the car in this case because of violations against the battery rental (you are not allowed to not use our battery – lol).

By your logic, car maker wouldn’t supply replacement ICE, because selling a complete new car is more profitable?
No, selling new parts for old cars is more profitable, new cars only generate revenue.

The battery is the most expensive ‘part’ of an EV.

So paying to replace the battery pack and all it’s electronics on an old compact EV body would be a waste.

Then there is the EV incentive that made the EV purchase possible in the first place, that’s only available for a vehicle purchase, and not on vehicle parts.

So after that tremendous battery expense, you still have a 5+ year old car with an expensive battery, not worth what you invested, when a brand version of the same EV with the upgraded range costs less.

This would be like trying to put an iPhone 5s processor in an old iPhone 4. It would cost more for the effort than to just get a new iPhone 5s.

The best option, sell off the used EVs at a discounted rate with ‘refurbished’ battery packed at the initial range. There will always be a market.

Actually that is what Tesla is already offering. The more you can change your battery in 3 minutes in a battery swap station whenever you want to (first one soon in LA).
So, if Renault wants to provide the possibility to upgrade your existing battery, it is rather a good idea.
When comparing cars with smart phones, one should not lose sight of a fundament difference between the two. The smart phone is obsolete after a short period, the car on the other end, will not be obsolete so fast. So, changing a battery on a smart phone may not be worth it, but changing a battery on an EV can be good both as replacement for an older one or as an upgrade for longer range.

While the battery pack will last many years, if Renault bring out a second-gen model with a greater range then the resale value of the first-gen model will go through the floor. Renault lease a lot of their cars (as do Nissan) and generally offer good part-ex rates on their own models to encourage existing customers to buy new. One way to boost the resale value would be to offer to upgrade the battery pack on a first-gen model – for a price.

As for upgrading for existing owners, paying twice as much a month for the extended battery is still a lot cheaper than buying a new car and Renault can then charge a premium (making more money) and re-use the original pack to replace any that have failed in, for example, accidents.

Don’t expect a battery-swap system like tesla though – Renault were caught by that last time with the failed Better Places endeavour.

Zoe has a 80mile range?

We have a Zoe and regularly achieve 100 -120miles and yes we would pay more for a 50 -100% increase in range.

We hope that Renault will sell us the battery one day but remember that 24 – 7 breakdown cover and an assurance that if the battery drops below 75% of new potential then Renault will swap it out is included in the rental.

Zoe is a great looking and a brilliant drive, don’t believe me?
go get a test drive.